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It is a mockery for the Government to offer support to victims after demolition their houses-Catholic Priest

Copperbelt-based Catholic Priest Fr. Francis Mwansa Mufwaya says it is a mockery for the Government to offer support to victims of the Chingola housing demolition through Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU).

Chingola Municipal Council on Saturday morning demolished over 300 structures illegally built on the Kasompe Airstrip, a land on title and belonging to Zambia Civil Aviation Authority.

Chingola Council says it didn’t allocate the land and that structures were erected without planning permission from the Local Authority hence prompting the demolition.

Victims of the demolition protested by burning Chingola Mayor Johnson Kang’ombe’s house and lodge in Chingola saying he allocated the land on Kasompe Airstrip.

Commenting on the demolition, Fr. Mufwaya, who has previously served at Kasompe Catholic Church in Chingola, said it an anomaly that the same government that has demolished houses in Kasompe is consoling people by dangling DMMU support.

The Parish Priest of St. Lawrence in Kantashi, Mufulira said the illegal allocation of plots in Kasompe should have been arrested years earlier before people built housing structures.

Fr. Mufwaya questioned why Chingola Municipal Council took long to address the issue of illegal land allocation in Kasompe which said has existed for about ten years.

Fr. Mufwaya said even though he doesn’t support the illegal building of houses on the airstrip land, council shouldn’t have rushed to demolish houses without finding alternative land for the victims.

“I would like to express my disappointment and bemoan the demolition of houses in Kasompe. This issue of giving out plots in that area was started immediately when PF came into power. So the government should look into the plight of the people of Kasompe whose houses were demolished. We are so disappointed to see the same government which decides to demolish poor and innocent people’s houses come in later to say the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) is ready to help the people. Why didn’t they invite DMMU as a stakeholder so that they prepare a place for the people to relocate? You come and sympathize after,” Fr. Mufwaya said.

He demanded that justice should prevail in the matter in which Chingola Council demolished houses built near Kasompe Airstrip.

Fr. Mufwaya emphasised that council workers and former ward councilors alleged to be behind the illegal land allocation in Kasompe should face the law.

“Let not government repeat this kind of action. Enter into dialogue with all the stakeholders including the people. We cannot say we allow this lawlessness but let all the stakeholders participate in whatever decision that has been made and prepare for the people to relocate. And then those council officers that were involved and former councilors, these are the people we are pleading that they should bring to book. To teach a lesson to those who would be offenders so that they can learn a lesson and not repeat this kind of lawlessness,” Fr. Mufwaya said.

He concluded:”As Priest and as a person who served the people of Kasompe I am very disappointed with this kind of action to the people. Yes they can be relocated. Let us find a place for relocation first and then demolish the houses. So please the government look into the plight of the people. Don’t demolish and then you come and side with the people politically and think you are consoling them.”

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