Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has expressed worry over the many cases of various injustices being registered in Kasungu.
Lilongwe Archdiocesan Coordinator for CCJP, Enock Phiri told a gathering of different stakeholders in Kasungu on Thursday that the district office receives more complaints about different injustices than any other district in the diocese.
Chief among the cases are wrangles concerning land ownership, owing to the existence of many estates in the tobacco growing district and the shrinking land size against the ever increasing population.
“This is why we have brought together different stakeholders to share ideas and map the way forward on how we can reduce such cases. We are aware that we can easily achieve this if we work together with other relevant entities.
“We are also aware that some of the chiefs are themselves ignorant of the laws. For us this is a wakeup call to diverse our interventions by, for example, using digital means to popularize laws amongst citizens and digitally transmit reports about injustices,” he said.
CCJP had previously trained traditional leaders countrywide in matters of primary justice such as case documentation and human rights abuses.
Phiri, therefore, emphasized on the need to revamp the programme and target some traditional leaders with trainings so that they are knowledgeable on matters of justice.
Traditional Authority (TA) Chizuma attributed the common land wrangles in the district to an old arrangement which demanded a minimum set land size as a condition to register an estate.
“What it meant was that several families would take their land together and register it under one name to create an estate. Today, when the estate has collapsed, those other families cannot get back their land because the one in whose name the estate was registered would claim the whole land as his/hers.
“When the cases go to court, it is an obvious matter that the courts will base their decision on documents and conflicts will ensue,” said Chizuma.
He called on CCJP to help popularize the laws amongst citizens saying many people do not know the laws of the land hence increasing lawlessness.
Kasungu First Grade Magistrate, Damiano Banda said lower courts are best placed to handle land issues because they are easily accessible to people hence the need to change the current laws which demand that land matters be handled by the high court.
“Land issues are currently handled at the high court. We ask our Members of Parliament to consider revising the land law so that it helps the local people. Poor Malawians cannot go to the high court,” said Banda.
On Wednesday CCJP met leaders of various civil society organisations to brainstorm on possible ways of curbing injustices in the district.
Apart from land matters, stakeholders also pointed out political intolerance, undefined chieftaincy boundaries and exploitation of security guards by some security companies as some of the other challenges rocking the district.