Thursday, June 20, 2024

The recent demolition of over 300 housing structures that were illegally built is sad

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Catholic Diocese of Ndola Bishop Benjamin Phiri has expressed his sadness over the recent demolition of over 300 housing structures that were illegally built on land housing the Kasompe Airstrip in Chingola.

Chingola Municipal Council on 20th August, 2022 demolished over 300 structures illegally built on the Kasompe Airstrip, a land on title and belonging to Zambia Civil Aviation Authority.

Many people have condemned the council for not arresting the illegal allocation of land and subsequent construction of houses way back when the illegality started around 2012.

Commenting on the demolition, Bishop Phiri said the Kasompe demolition issue was a collective of bad decisions by the parties involved.

The Bishop said people who illegally allocated land on the airstrip land were wrong together with those who built illegal structures and the council that demolished the structures.

Bishop Phiri, a Canon Lawyer, demanded that justice prevails in the Kasompe saga.

“I was particularly saddened recently when I heard about what happened in Kasompe, Chingola. I was greatly saddened. I did not apportion blame but it is indeed a very sad event. It is a collection of a series of bad decisions by various stakeholders. The first bad decision was by whoever apportioned land illegally, that was the first bad decision. The second bad decision was for those people who went to buy that land without the papers. That was also a bad decision. The third and concluding bad decision was by those who are responsible in the local authority to decide to erase more than 300 houses at the same time,” Bishop Phiri said during Mass in Chililabombwe.

He said some officers at Chingola Council must be held accountable for allowing an illegality to happen over the years.

“They (Council) should have consulted further. We should have sat down as stakeholders to find the best way forward. My challenge to you, the women and I know that some of the people in the local government are women; my challenge is when these illegal structures are being put up where are you? You seem to wake up only when the structure has been finished. You should be able to observe when it is starting and that is what you are paid for. That is your job. For you to wake up only when people have built up and have lived there for many years then that is when you realise that actually they have built in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.

Bishop Phiri added that the efforts being made by some organs of government to solve a problem which they have created is not necessarily a merit.

“I think that if it was up to me I would start by punishing those for failing to do their work. For an illegal to happen it is because somebody did not do their work his or her somewhere and that is very sad. We hope that the Government is going to do everything possible to ensure that justice is done. Jumping on board with the different organs of government to solve a problem which you have created yourself is not necessarily a merit; however, justice can still be done,” Bishop Phiri said.

Last week, Copperbelt-based Catholic Priest Fr. Francis Mwansa Mufwaya said it is a mockery for the Government to offer support to victims of the Chingola housing demolition through Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).

Commenting on the demolition, Fr. Mufwaya, who has previously served at Kasompe Catholic Church in Chingola, said it an anomaly that the same government that has demolished houses in Kasompe is consoling people by dangling DMMU support.

20 COMMENTS

  1. So what is sad?If you do something illegally it is wrong!!! No matter what you say or does your church see ist different?

  2. Bishop, you are right on the first 2 and wrong on the last one. Come to Chingola and see how people are building illegally on land that is clearly on title even as you make that speech. These people are being warned, radio broadcasts being done and some even being taken to the police but they still continue because they know the church and society will come and tell the government to legalese in the name of humanity. The council can’t police every piece of construction especially when the politicians are involved in the illegal allocations. In Chingola today people are still building on titled land that is not theirs and still have the guts to take the owners to court for injunctions. let’s be reasonable a title should mean something otherwise we have no country.

    • Do you have to wait for someone to finish building then you go and destroy the house? If you are able to mobilize the police and bulldozers to bring down structures how can you fail to organize the same resources to stop illegal structures from being built.

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  3. Thanks your Lordship. First they demolish the houses and then give the victims bags of mealie meal.
    First they increase the price of fuel by 10 kwacha to 27 kwacha, they reduce by 1 kwacha and say they s listening government t

  4. @1 I am sure you are a supporter of the current government which when in opposition opposed the destroying illegal structures.
    The Bishop is right on all points.

  5. There could be more than three million houses illegally built on land through out the country. This is Attributed to the basic need, shelter; and contributed by the Government failure to both built houses and allocate land for those who want to build houses. Take note, the land has not been destroyed, it is just dotted with illegal structures. All we need is sensible elected law makers to do the job for which we elected them. The job is simple, find an alternative land make arrangements to shift them and ensure they build structures according to the plan. If you cannot stomach the current situation, resign. The elected law makers should be worried about the land being permanently destroyed by the mines. Youth open your eyes.

  6. The council was seeing those illegal structures coming up with no action but remember the council then was a PF council, and you all know PF and the Law have always been at variance. A case in point is Kabushi now, where a candidate with a history of violence and his seat nullified on the same account is still pushing to stand. Let me recite what somebody already said beat up and embarrassed Major Kachingwe, Slapped Kambwili right in the precincts of Parliament, involved in serious violence in the roan bye elections resulting in a death, and still claiming to be popular because of the questionable money he was dangling

  7. The Bishop would support buying stolen goods…………..

    If the police grab the stolen goods you bought , you have support of this Bishop………..

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  8. #6 Mbalanyama…. have verified information on when those structures came into being? Don’t just support and accuse without facts.
    There has always been settlement around that area even before the airport was moved from the old area. The only difference is that the original were very few and small huts or ramshackle houses.

  9. Cleaning PF mess should continue. That land is on title. Carders were busy allocating land that did not belong to them. If you have been a victim before you would feel my pain

  10. Something crazy in Zambia is how we wait for something to get catastrophic before we act. Look at simple things like potholes. Drivers will ease into them until some unsuspecting motorist flips and loses their life. THEN you see action mending the potholes and sh!t like that. Change your frigging mindsets!!! Get proactive!!!

  11. Deja vu and Garlic well artculated Some Zambians are heartless and antichristians. Error started with the council who slept when all thing started. They could have blocked this. Dont waffle anyhow cos u are a cadre.

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  12. I have often pointed out that the same thing has been happening in Ndola the past 20 years. Plots were illegally allocated by corrupt council officials. Luckily these plots are not near an airport so no decision to destroy them has been carried out. The city’s previous parks have been turned into residences illegally and noone does anything. One day a clean government will come and demolish these and there will be an uproar just like now in Chingola

  13. Let’s also try to sympathises with some people who built houses there. Some are not educated. They know nothing about illegal land. All they saw was some council workers selling land. And our poor friends bought that land. Which they have been longing for. And saving the little money they made from selling vitumbuwa for a long time. Today you come and say illegal. And you pull down the structures. That’s not fair. Something can be legally correct, but morally very wrong. Even if pulling down those homes was legally right, it was however very morally very wrong. We should apply sympathy when using the law sometimes.

    • As harsh as it sounds ignorance is no defense. So lack of education won’t stand in a court case. However you can show a judge that you were duped

  14. And the answer is just to assume all PF cadres guilty and start probing them one by one and leave the innocent ones which would be about a quarter of them. The damage was collosal, all these lamentations after the demolitions emanate from that party which hopefully is extinct

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