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14 Jan 2016

Martin Chiwanda, Nyasa Times (Malawi)

Malawi: Villagers say local leaders' plan to sell land to investor will compromise their right to food

"Chiefs Clash With Subjects Over Land Sale to Indian Investor"

Communities in the area of Chief Malemia in Nsanje have turned down a proposal by their traditional leaders to sale their customary land to an Indian investor...

Concerned people...said the traditional leaders are abusing their powers as customary land cannot be sold without consulting their subjects. "We were surprised to hear that there is an Indian investor who wants to establish Mango and Banana plantations on our customary land. We hear that the investor has been conniving with our traditional leaders including Senior Chief Malemia to buy 500 to 1000 hectares of our land for the project. "Imagine, they started demarcating the land earmarked for selling without our knowledge. Our chiefs jumped the gun because we were supposed to be consulted from the word go other than seeing our land being demarcated," said the source...

According to the people, letting the land go would be disastrous as they rely on the very land for agricultural activities. "We cannot afford to lose our land since it is a source of food for most people in Nsanje," concluded the one of the concerned people.