By Levison Chiumya
Scores of people around Masasa suburb in the outskirts of Mzuzu City are facing food shortages and other relief materials, MIJ can reveal. The revelations come during a recent visit by Social Organization Society (SOS) when it was donating assorted food and other relief items to the affected residents.
The visit, which was co-organized with Taonga Community-Based Organization saw about 146 families, and over 2000 children benefiting from the donations. According to SoS’ National Emergency Response Programmes coordinator, Steven Nyirenda, the donation is timely as it will assist in seeing off the beneficiaries up to the forthcoming harvesting season.
“Most of these beneficiaries lost their foodstuffs courtesy of the flash floods that had hit Masasa last year. We therefore believe the little that we’ve donated will assist them as they are preparing for the harvesting season, whereby, at least, some of these food stuffs become available,” He said.
Nyirenda also hopes that the gesture will assist in reducing the number of street beggars in the city.
“As you know SOS mostly targets vulnerable children, we felt we were obliged to take part in donating this food stuff to promote children’s life. In the end, we can have a lesser number of children flocking to the city’s street to beg,” Nyirenda explained.
On their part, recipients of the relief materials expressed gratitude towards the two organizations’ good will gestures. He continued to say that this is a special relief to the residents since the donation will assist in reducing some of the problems that various families are facing.
One of the beneficiaries, Fannie Kamanga, was all smiles and hopes the donations will assist in meeting the challenges her family had been facing.
“I’m more than happy. Back then, I used to be purchasing flour twice a day. But now you can imagine 70 kgs of maize will save my family for entire February! I’m speechless!” she said. Some of the donated materials were maize, usipa, and soya beans.
By Wellington Tengula
Despite a plea by Chibanja residents to Mzuzu City Council to move timber processors away from the residential area, individuals and companies are still operating within the area. The timber processors through Mzuzu Entrepreneurs Saw Millers Association is pointing fingers at Mzuzu City Council for failing to reallocate them.
According to the association’s secretary, Nicholas Kondowe, ever-since the City Council promised to reallocate them; the council has not come forward to tell them whether the land has been acquired for them or not.
“We had a meeting with officials from the council telling us that we should leave the place. We agreed and they assured us that new land will be made available for us. They also said we should just give them enough time to bring the services to the new land.” Said Kondowe.
Kondowe however said that, since the discussions were made the council has been quite.
“Its 2 years now since they promised us and last year they came to chase us from the place but we decided to go to court to get an injunction.” Kondowe added.
In response to the claim, Public Relations Officer for Mzuzu City Council Karen Msiska concurred with the business operator saying processes are in the pipeline to reallocate them.
“We cannot just chase them without finding them a proper place for their business. We have identified some places where we intend to allocate those that are currently processing timber in Chibanja location. We have a place at Sonda and Luwinga. But we have a problem with Sonda where some plots which we have already demarcated have been encroached by residents living around the area, but as council we are working on the situation,” said Msiska.
Msiska further assured the business operators that the challenge will be resolved soon.
Residents in Chibanja have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the City Council is handling the matter.