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).
There is a possibility that Support Staff Members from the Universities under the University of Malawi will join the strike currently underway at Chancellor College.
Chanco Support Staff members downed tools on Tuesday demanding a 12 percent salary increment.
This dates back to 2017, when after talks, the University Council promised to be increasing their salary in phases, an agreement which the council failed to honour.
A meeting held between the Council and the Support Staff members failed to yield anything hence their decision to proceed with the strike.
Commenting on the issue General Secretary for the UNIMA Support Staff Union James Khando says they are not going back to work until their salaries are increased.
“We are meeting support staff members from the Polytechnic, Kamuzu College of Nursing and the College of Medicine where we will brief them of what transpired in the meeting we had with the University Council,” Khando added.
He further says out of the 25 percent salary increment they agreed with the Council they were given 13 percent last year remaining with 12 percent.
“University Council members have not been forthcoming to our discussions on the issue, they are showing interest for us to talk after we gave them notices that we will be on strike.
A fourth year student from Chanco who opted not to be named told Capital FM they are currently failing to access the library, laboratory and other services, as they are closed.
“Some of us are in forth year and we are doing research hence failing to access the library and the laboratory is greatly inconveniencing us.”
The student went on further urging the authorities to reach an agreement reached soon for the betterment of them all.
There was however no immediate comment from the University Council on the matter.
Thirteen people have been remanded to prison for allegedly inciting violence over blood sucking rumours in Malawi’s former capital, Zomba.
The suspects Enock Bomba aged 32, Edson Eleven, 33, Buton Manyenje aged 31 and ten others were arrested for allegedly inciting violence at Ndalama Health Post at Jali on the night of 22 October, 2017.
According to the State Prosecutor Louis Makiyi, the suspects mobilised themselves and attacked a team of employees from Save the Children who went to the area to drop off a Health Surveillance Assistant who was coming from a workshop.
The suspects are reported to have started stoning the officers, accusing them of being blood suckers who were planning to terrorize the area.
Makiyi says the police came in to rescue the officers after they were called and managed to arrest 13 suspects, of which seven are minors.
According to information sourced from the Eastern Region Police Public Relations Officer, Joseph Sauka, all the suspects have denied the charge of Conduct likely to cause a breach of peace levelled against them.
Senior Resident Magistrate Wyson Nkhata has adjourned the case to 30th October, 2017 to allow the state to notify its witnesses.
Law enforcers say they have arrested over at least 200 people for spreading rumours or being part of the vigilante groups that incited violence.
National Police Deputy Spokesperson told Capital FM early this week that 55 were arrested at Bvumbwe in Thyolo district.
Some of the suspects have already appeared
The Civil Society Organisations pushing for the refund of public funds by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are expected to file their case on Tuesday at the Zomba High Court.
This has been confirmed by a well-placed source within the involved organisations.
The move follows the collapse of talks between DPP representatives and the CSOs on this issue, which commentators say does not come as a surprise to many.
The DPP is being challenged to pay back the money it received as donations from some parastatal organizations during its fundraising ‘Blue Night’ gala in Lilongwe.
The party is being accused of abusing its power, as the money donated belongs to the taxpaying public.
DPP representatives have been dismissing the claims, arguing they approached a number of institutions to donate towards the event.
When contacted, lawyer for the CSO’s, Wesley Mwafulirwa, could neither confirm nor deny tomorrows filing of the case.
But our source has exclusively confirmed the development, disclosing that the case will be filed tomorrow at the Zomba High Court.
It is alleged that in their case, the CSO’s claim the expenditure of the money by the parastatals was not within the Public Finance Management Act; and that the move was a violation of the people’s rights to make political choices.
They also argue it infringes the people’s right to information, as the public does not know how much was donated by the concerned public institutions.