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Truth behind protracted battle between LCC and Nsungwi residents over developments along the graveyard

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There has been a continued wrangle between Lilongwe City, Block Leaders, and some shop developers at Nsungwi market or Kabwabwa graveyard.

In June last year, the Lilongwe City Council demolished the shops that are being built along the road that goes to Dedza and these shops have been built in the boundaries of Kabwabwa/Nsungwi graveyard.

You may wish to ask yourself, Kodi manda a Kabwabwa/Nsungwi ndi a Lilongwe City Council/ Block leaders/Mafumu amagazi?

Is this the only place where people have built in the boundaries of a graveyard within Lilongwe City or elsewhere?

Are the block leaders pushing for demolition of these shop doing so objectively with good intention?

Do we have invisible political hand in this issue? Are the shops targeted for demolition the only shops/structures that have been built around Kabwabwa/Nsungwi (if not why the other shops are spared)?

Within Lilongwe City (LCC) the only popular or known City council managed graveyard are in Area 18.

Residents of any area within Lilongwe are allowed to bury their relations at A18. When asked how many graveyards LCC has, the Director of Planning and Development for LCC confirmed that they are responsible and only control A18 graveyard.

Sub TA Matanda, where the Kabwabwa graveyard is found, emphatically stated that this graveyard is for his local people. STA Matanda further stated that him and some of his GVHs already engaged LLC and strongly discouraged LCC to avoid taking sides in the wrangle of the development along the graveyard.

The STA reported that during the meeting with the CEO and the mayor of LCC they agreed that this issue must be resolved amicably, impartially and without creating another problem that will affect the wide community as it happened at A25 health facility. It is reported that in June 2023 Senior Chief Chitukula and some block leaders also wrote LCC on the same issue.

Going around Lilongwe City, it has been established that there are more structures (houses, mosques, shops etc) that are built along graveyards. Examples of graveyards that have structures along it Kawale 2, A49 (near Mvama Police), Mbvunguti (A25), Chilinde, A23, Chisapo, Mzondo (A25), Maenje (Opposite Kanengo Industrial Area), Mgona.

One of the illegal building which was demolished last year within the Kabwabwa Area 25 graveyard

In Kawale LCC has built a public toilet just as like the shops at Kabwabwa/Nsungwi graveyard. When asked what is the recommended distance between a graveyard and a structure in LCC and what has LCC done with all these structures (including their own) which are built in the boundaries of nearly all graveyards in Lilongwe? The LCC representative was unable to mention any action taken in the other areas.

On the southern part of Nsungwi/Kabwawa graveyard there are over 70 shops built some 12 years ago. Three or so shop that are on this stretch were built a cemetery (anachotsa ziliza ndi mitumbira ndikumangapo).

LL Water Board built its office along the same graveyard. The shops (around 50) that have been a borne of contention are in the eastern part of Nsungwi/Kabwabwa graveyard.

When the new 50 shops that are along the road were demolished in June last year the other shops built in similar manner at the same graveyard were spared. LCC has not explained why these shops were spared.

The block leaders pushing for demolition of shops built at Kabwabwa are also not interested to have these old shops demolished. The leader of the Block Leaders who have been going to LCC office confirmed that his group have been pushing for demolition of only selected shops/structures around manda a Kabwabwa.

Three years ago, a prominent business person at Nsungwi (the one hosting Nsungwi police) offered to build a brick fence surrounding Kabwabwa graveyard.

This project started with a foundation in the eastern part of graveyard and part of the controversial side. It is rumored that the project stalled when some people particularly those operating Nsungwi lorries rank smelt something fishy (outside the fence opposite Nsungwi shop he and others built shops in support from selected block leaders).

It is reported that the intention of building the fence was to claim the land outside the fence by one person with few block leaders. Current information also has it that party candidates for upcoming elections have been using this wrangle as a complaining issue.

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