Sunday, April 22, 2012

Musenge censures squatters on Phoenix Materials land

Musenge censures squatters on Phoenix Materials land
By Mwila Chansa-Ntambi in Kitwe
Sun 22 Apr. 2012, 13:27 CAT

CHIMWEMWE member of parliament Mwenya Musenge has reprimanded squatters that have encroached on the land where Phoenix Materials is supposed to build the biggest shopping mall in Kitwe.

And the squatters have vowed to die defending ‘their land', accusing Kitwe City Council of giving preference to the rich when offering land. Meanwhile, Kitwe Mayor Chileshe Bweupe says KCC will not allow a situation where people want to create a ramshackle.
During the continued tour of his constituency on his way to Hybrid Poultry Farm on Friday, Musenge noticed a huge number of people gathered at the site where the Phoenix Materials Mall is supposed to be built.

This prompted him and his entourage to stop and find out what was going on.

Some people in the group told Musenge that they were there to share plots because the land in question was theirs.

Musenge then phoned Kitwe Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga who categorically stated that council had nothing to do with the land in question as it was on title and belonged to Phoenix Materials.

Musenge then told the people that the government would not allow them to take the law into their own hands.

Mickson Sakachima, Stephen Sandala, Kellys Kabwe and Martin were amongst the people that identified themselves as leaders of the group.

Musenge advised their followers to take the four men to the police if they had gotten any money from them because there was procedure involved in land acquisition.

He told the people that even if they used force or tried to be stubborn, it would not take them anywhere because they were the ones to lose out in the end.

Musenge shouted at a man who tried to interrupt his speech.

"Tondolo! Quiet! Just keep quiet! There is nothing you can tell me. This is not the first time this issue is coming up. Nibunkosa mitwe bwashani How hard hearted can one be? Maakanshi mukwete what powers do you have to start allocating land?" Musenge fumed.

"I have warned you that you are dealing with thieves and if they got any money from you, report them to the police. You are doing this at your own peril and do not cry foul if it backfires."

But the ‘squatters' claimed that they were not scared of anything and that they had followed the right procedure in acquiring the land in question.

"Ifwe natuipelesha ukufwilapo pali iyi land. Eco twabavotele pakuti batusunge. Twalile ku council kulya elo ba Dorothy Sampa batwebele ukucita apply nokulemba amashina yesu bonse nenkalata eko ili ku council but ifwe twaishile papa fye ati balakulapo shopping mall pano [We are prepared to die for this land. We voted for these people so that they look after us. We went to the council and Dorothy Sampa KCC acting public relations manager told us to apply and write down our names and that letter is there at the council but to our surprise, we just heard that there would be a shopping mall here]," claimed Enoch Machayi.

He claimed that the issue of the shopping mall was a non-starter and that the council just wanted to use it to give land to the elite and sideline the poor.

Another squatter complained that land application procedure took too long.

But Kitwe Mayor Chileshe Bweupe in an interview later warned that those who wanted to take the law into their own hands would face its wrath.

"Council's position on that matter remains the same. It is land on title and those people have got no reason to be defiant. We will not allow people to create a ramshackle coming from Chingola because we already have a mwa mulenga ramshackle coming from Ndola," Bweupe said.

He accused the former ruling MMD of having created the problem at hand by promising people that they would be given that land if they voted for the party.

"And as usual, our people bought into that idea but we are saying that is private land and it is on title. We will not entertain anyone who will say empower us because we voted for PF because we know that those people occupied that land as a result of the MMD campaign promise that if they voted for them, the land would be theirs," said Bweupe.

He urged Phoenix Materials Limited to immediately secure their land before the situation gets out of hand.

Hundreds of people every day gather on the land where Phoenix Materials is supposed to build a shopping mall, under the pretext of sharing plots.

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