Findings by environmental experts have revealed that political interference is the main reason for the depletion of urban green space in the Malawi.
Cities are said to be centres of social and economic development resulting in challenges on how to manage their growth to ensure human well-being is prioritised.
The research findings were disseminated at a stakeholders meeting that was held in Lilongwe to determine why cities have lost the greenspaces and measures that could help in restoring the lost canopy cover.
Greenspace infrastructure refers to landscapes, green plants in peoples surrounding including those around the rivers and conserved plain spaces in towns and cities.
It is believed that the phenomenon has led to the country experiencing high temperatures that have had negative effects resulting to heavy rains, floods and environmental degradation.
Following the meeting, a research support group composed of officials and experts from the public, private and statutory institutions was constituted to help in providing guidance on the same.
According to the co-principle investigator who is also the team leader from LUANAR, Associate Professor David Nkwambisi, indicated that the intention is for the research findings to be taken and applied by stakeholders to support sustainable use and management of urban greenspaces.
He observes that the government needs to be cautious when allocating different plots of land to investors as political and corrupt trends have adversely contributed to the problem.
“Lack of proper procedures, planning and consultations are a key issue in Malawi when it comes to allocation of land especially to those planning huge investment
As Universities, we have to work with stakeholders in effective ways so that together we can design, implement, monitor and share results and lessons with those who make decisions and who are affected by those decisions,” said Nkwambisi.
Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the department of environmental affairs and under the ministry of energy and mining Sangwani Phiri admits the problem is real and has had huge impact on human life.
He cites urbanisation, industrialisation and population boom as the main reasons for the loss of green canopy in cities and towns.
However he reveals his department is working on the issue to ensure that cities and towns are back to their normal being and provide people with the much needed cooling effects.
He highlights: “As a ministry we are working tirelessly with all the city and town councils to ensure that we restore all the lost cover
and very soon you will see change.”
During the meeting, participants noted that urban greenspaces in Cities have been destroyed resulting in loss of biodiversity, increased temperatures and floods that have affected all groups of urban dwellers.
The stakeholders meeting was organised by the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural resources LUANAR in collaboration with the University of Leeds of the United Kingdom under the governments Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
A hailstorm in Malawi’s northern region district of Mzuzu has damaged at least eight houses belonging to the Police Force and residents.
The heavy rains that fell for about an hour from around three in the afternoon on Tuesday reportedly also damaged some houses in Masasa and Katawa residential areas.
When Malawi News Agency (Mana) rushed to the police staff houses, it found victims assessing their damaged property.
One of the victims, Sub Inspector Daud Mhango, said he has heavily been affected by the hailstorm because some of his household property has been destroyed.
“Maize flour, clothes, beddings, electronic equipment and other materials have been damaged. Now I will be forced to replace the destroyed items outside my budget,” he said.
The heavy rains also uprooted several trees within and outside the police premises. Some trees fell on electricity and telephone lines interrupting services.
In an interview, Northern Region Police Spokesperson, Peter Kalaya, said assessment of the extent of the damage was under way.
“According to the preliminary report I have received, four houses have been heavily damaged and other four have minor damages,” he said.
Mzuzu City Council, Disaster Desk Officer, Precious Mandala, said the hailstorm also damaged three houses in Katawa Ward.
“I have just received the information from Deputy Mayor [Alexander Mwakikunga] who is also ward councilor for the area but I’m yet to go there to see the extent of the damage though at the mean time I don’t have transport to rush there,” he said.
The hailstorm came barely a week after stormy rains also damaged houses and household property in some parts of the city.
The Police in Mzimba district are keeping in custody a 45-year-old Mzuzu based businessman for being found in possession of fake Malawian currency.
Pachalo Nyoni was arrested after being found in possession of MK2, 000 fake notes amounting to MK28, 000.
According to Mzimba Police Spokesperson Peter Botha, the suspect Pachalo Nyoni who owns a garage at Luwinga in Mzuzu had MK40, 000 in total and wanted to use MK12, 000 to purchase alcohol.
Botha says after Nyoni paid, the Bartender discovered that the bank notes were counterfeit as they bore identical serial numbers.
The Bartender then alerted the police after searching Nyoni and discovering that out of MK40, 000 all the bank notes about NK28,000 was fake and he was arrested right away.
Pachalo Nyoni hails from Khosoro Jere village in Mzimba in the area of Traditional Authority Khosoro.
He is expected to appear in court soon to answer charges of being found in possession of fake currency.
Nyoni is the fifth person to be found with fake Malawian bank notes in a period of two months.
The most common notes used to trick people are MK2000 and MK1000 bank notes.
In October this year, law enforcers arrested three men in Mzimba who were found with fake notes amounting to five million kwacha; the case is still in court.
Eleven music performers have been lined up to entertain revelers in Blantyre during this year’s Independence Celebrations from 8 to 9 July.
Brothers Paul and Lucius Banda, Skeffa Chimoto, Blak Jak and Blaze are among the local musicians that are expected to perform live during the party which is scheduled to take place on Livingstone Avenue in Blantyre CBD.
During the party, reggae band the Black Missionaries will get to share the stage for the second time with brothers Takudziwani and Paul Chokani who left the band to re-establish the Wailing Brothers band in January, 2016.
The first time the cousins turned rivals shared the stage after their breakup was late last year in the city of Mzuzu.
In addition, the acoustic duo of Edgar ndi Davis will perform for their regular fans in Blantyre for the first time this year.
This will be after they performed for VIPs at the inaugural Nyasa Music Awards gala at the COMESA hall in Blantyre.
The 2017 Carlsberg Street party will accord Afro-pop singer, Sonyezo the opportunity to showcase his new side of music after he changed his stage name from Sonye early this month.
Rapper, Fredokiss will mark his return to the stage after a long silence that was marred with the MRA’s seizure of his vehicle which the tax collector later returned.
Multinational brewer, Carlsberg and local entertainment firm, Entertainers Promotions, have organised the street party.
Revelers will have to buy thee Carlsberg beers as a pass to the two-day party which will start on the afternoon of Saturday, 8 July.
The party is amongst the many street entertainment events that are scheduled to take place in the city this year.
Last Month, Carlsberg Malawi organised a similar event which targeted the urban youth of Blantyre.
Dubbed “Carlsberg Urban Legacy” the indoor event was held at the College of Medicine’s Sports Complex.
The live gig which was held for a second year running attracted performances by some of the biggest names in Malawi’s urban music including rappers Tay Grin, Martse, Charisma and Kwini B, reggae-dancehall singers Sangie and Malinga Mafia, afro-pop singers Theo Thomson and Sir Patricks.
Tenants living in Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) houses will have to start digging deeper into their pockets as the Corporation has hiked up its rentals.
Public Relations Officer for the MHC Ernestina Yobe has attributed the hike to the Corporation’s graduation into a profit making entity.
The rental adjustments, in some instances up to a 100 percent, come at a time when a majority of the tenants are grappling with the high costs of living.
Currently there is also a shortage of MHC houses, as the Corporation has sold most of its units to private owners who are offering them on the market for double the MHC value.
The MHC houses have been the most affordable in the country, providing decent accommodation to medium and low income earners.
However with the hike in rentals, properties may become unaffordable.
Speaking to capital FM, Public Relations Officer for the MHC said that the rentals have been slightly adjusted effective the first day of July.
Yobe attributed the hike to the fact that the corporation is now operating as a commercial entity and needs resources to keep it afloat.
The adjustments are said to have been hiked differently based on house location, size and class.
Yobe went on further to say that this is not the first time MHC has hiked rentals but this time around it is higher than that of the previous years mainly due to the commercialisation of the corporation.
A Blantyre based tenant of one MHC house told this reporter that he’d been notified that he will be paying up to MK36,000 for a house that used to be MK18,000.
He mentioned that the amount was too much as the prices of various commodities on the market continues to rise on a daily basis.
MHC is recently embarked on a venture to construct houses so to meet the demand for housing which is on a rise in the country’s cities.
About 25,000 houses are expected to be built in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu by the year 2018.
According to media reports, MHC last constructed a reasonable number of houses in the 1970’s when the areas of Nkolokosa, Soche, Area 18 and others were being developed.
With a population of over 17 million, the national housing demand is pegged at 21,000 units annually.