Some traditional leaders from the Liselo sub-khuta have rejected a decision by Mafwe Traditional Authority leader chief George Simasiku Mamili to award a piece of land, measuring eight hectares, to the Katima Mulilo Town Council to be used as a dumpsite.
In an interview on Friday, Liselo senior induna Bollen Muhembo stated that their resistance to award the said piece of land in Chantuhu area to the local authority was not considered by their chief in his ruling.
“We were just summoned by the chief to inform us of about his ruling. We were not given the chance to say anything. I was surprised that the town council went straight to the main khuta without approaching us first,” said Muhembo.
His sentiments were shared by another induna Andreas Kahuza, who insisted that they never rejected the council’s request to award them a piece of land.
He, however, said proper consultations were not done prior to the land being issued to the council.
“According to the procedure, the sub-khuta should be the one to approve the land request. After it approves, it recommends to the main khuta for the chief to make the final decision. However, it appears this particular case was done in a different way,” said Kahuza.
Meanwhile, during a media briefing on Friday, a group of Liselo residents voiced out their disapproval of the chief’s decision.
According to the group’s spokesperson Lisho Mapulanga, they have already appealed the chief’s decision through the Liselo sub-khuta.
They claimed the proposed dumpsite is surrounded by villages and crop fields, and that it also serves as a source of drinking water for the villagers and their livestock.
“This proposed dumpsite is still an active gravel mine that is currently supplying gravel for the construction of projects in the entire Zambezi region,” said Mapulanga.
However, Katima CEO Raphael Liswaniso dismissed claims by residents and some indunas of Liselo that they were not consulted.
He stated that when the town council approached the Liselo sub-khuta, they were met with resistance.
According to Liswaniso, the council first approached the Liselo sub-khuta in 2017 to request for a piece of land to be used for a dumpsite.
However, the arising of boundary disputes between the town council and the Liselo khuta delayed the negotiations.
He added they were expecting to be awarded the piece of land after issues of the boundaries were resolved in 2019. However, the Liselo khuta’s reluctance resulted in the regional governor Lawrence Sampofu’s involvement.
Liswaniso said the governor’s involvement and that of Katima Rural constituency councillor Matengu Simushi opened the door for the council to be awarded a piece of land to be used as a dumpsite.
“Chinchimani khuta did not make a decision without consulting the indunas of Liselo. Chinchimani Khuta does not consult the community; they informed the indunas to consult the community. After the consultations were done, the indunas were told to go and inform the community [about] the decision of the Khuta – not of the town council,” stated Liswaniso.
He also dismissed allegations that the proposed site is an active gravel mine.
“That area is closed; there is no gravel that is being extracted from there. Except for the gravel that is being extracted illegally,” said Liswaniso.
He also explained that since the site is an open pit, the council would not necessarily use it as a dumpsite but as a landfill.