HRDC advises Malawi Government to buy back idle land, redistribute to landless communities

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has advised the Government of Malawi to buy back idle land from estate companies and redistribute it to landless Malawians.

HRDC national coordinator Kelvin Chirwa stated that this is the only solution to the impasse between owners of tea estates in Thyolo, Mulanje and Nkhata Bay.

Chirwa was reacting to the directive Thyolo District Commissioner, Hudson Kuphanga, has given to the people cultivating maize in the Conforzi Plantations Limited estate until February 14, 2024, to register in the database.

Kuphanga said this would facilitate an agreement to let them harvest their crops this year.

Earlier, the DC had engaged and pleaded with the company to stop its security guards from slashing the maize for the encroachers.

He said the registration at the council would, among other things, help the company get the encroachers’ names and agree that they will not cultivate the land again next year.

But Chirwa argued that this is not a sustainable solution to the decades-long problem of scarcity of land for cultivation among the locals.

Chirwa: Buying back idle land for distribution to landless Malawians is the lasting solution to impasse between estates and communities

“Where will the communities cultivate next year? These are the things we need to address. Why should estates keep long parches of idle of idle land when communities have no land to cultivate?” he asked.

“We need the government, through the councils, to start buying back this idle land and redistribute it to people. Otherwise, people will continue being forced to forcefully take back such land,” said Chirwa.

Chief Government Spokesperson and Minister of Information and Digitalization, Moses Kunkuyu, was not immediately available to comment on the matter.

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