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.