The area 23, Kamuzu Barracks road project has created tension in the area as residents feel they have been shortchanged because to them any government project where people have been unsettled compensation is given out.
According to residents of Area 23, they are suspicious that some ‘unscrupulous’ officials have shared the money hence the decision not to pay them any compensation.
The residents who recently summoned member of Parliament for the area Ulemu Msungama and his Councillors said they want a better explanation as to why they will not get any money as ‘chipepeso’.
“Everywhere government is carrying out projects and people have had their houses or even fences demolished they get a little something. We are surprised that his area is being treated differently. We will still pursue with this matter to get to the bottom of it,” one of the residents named Mwazani commented.
The project which is part of the huge government initiative to improve road network in all cities including the capital city, Lilongwe in particular and the Malawi as a whole, has seen township roads wearing new faces bringing relief to car owners as it has reduced car maintenance costs.
But speaking in an interview yesterday Roads Authority Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Matapa said government has prioritized road network so that issues of congestion, car maintenance, communication and conduction of business are eased.
Matapa said issues of compensation have indeed attracted some negativity because of lack of proper information in the area but government wants to develop the the road network to an a level where
movement will be considerably reduced.
He said.”There were misunderstandings regarding compensation in that area but they have been sorted out. The Kamuzu Barracks, Area 23 project has started now. As I am speaking the contractor is on site and residents have been informed that there will be no compensation.
This project is beneficial to the residents of Chilinde, Kamuzu Barracks and Area 23 because it will ease mobility problems and open up the area. We are hopeful that within the shortest period possible
we will deliver the road to them. Government has made it a priority to have all city roads maintained so that development can be taken to another insurmountable level.”
Member of Parliament for the area Ulemu Msungama (MCP) who has been conducting sensitization meetings in the area also confirmed to Nyasatimes that there were huge misunderstandings in the area as regards compensation but now the issue is water under the bridge.
According to Msungama some misguided individuals were going around in Chilinde, Masambabise and area 23 that they will get compensation if part of their fence or even houses is demolished due to the road project.
“I would like to put the record straight that there is no money for compensation because we demanded this project. This road will open up the whole area 23 as it will connect people from as far as gologota
and Namichimba to essential facilities such as Kamuzu Central Hospital, Banks, Stadiums and even main markets in the city,” said Msungama.
During an impromptu meeting which took place in area 23 yesterday one of the residents named Mayi Jere assured her fellow inhabitants that there is no compensation for any structure to be set up because the project will benefit the whole township which for a long time had no proper access road.
“I have been conducting my own investigations but what I have learnt is that tere is no compensation whatsoever. Even I Ntandire government demolished hawkers, fences and even houses but no compensation was given out,” Jere told the gathering.
However some residents who spoke on condition of anonymity at the end of the meeting said they believe that there is money for compensation but that some ‘individuals’ want to ‘eat’ it.
The 3.6 kilmetre road is expected to cost about K1.4 billion. The meeting was attended by over sixty people and prominent individuals present included chiefs, councilor William Nguluwe and Dafter January of State House ward.
Government has embarked on a serious road network face-lifting project in all the cities and is being carried out by the Roads Authority currently headed by Emmanuel Matapa an accomplished engineer.