Wachepa squatters in Chipata risk losing government support

Government says it is still waiting for a response from people of Wachepa village to have them relocated to Chief M’nukwa’s area.

This is in a matter over a long standing land dispute where more than 56 families staying at farm number D115 belonging to Kabalika Nkhwengwe have refused to relocate.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says that government has spent about 124 thousand kwacha to prepare new land that has been identified for the relocation of Wachepa villagers.

He says government has demarcated 64 hectors of land, graded a six kilometre road and drilled three boreholes to transfer the families currently staying at Nkhwengwe farm.

Mr. Kasolo says the stance taken by the people of Wachepa village to remain at an area under title puts them at risk because government will not help if the owner of the land decides to apply for eviction.

He says government has spent colossal sums of money to prepare a new settlement but is disappointed by their refusal to move.

He was speaking during a press briefing in Chipata yesterday.

Meanwhile, government says traditional leaders in Eastern Province are concerned with the delay by FRA, The Food Reserve Agency to start buying maize from farmers.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary, Chanda Kasolo told a media briefing in Chipata yesterday that he has been receiving calls from Chiefs in the province asking FRA to start buying maize before most farmers sale their products to briefcase buyers.

He says the Chiefs have also called on government to consider increasing the buying price of maize from the current 75 Kwacha.

Mr. Kasolo says government has taken note of the concerns of traditional leaders, adding that FRA will in a few weeks’ time start buying maize from farmers.

Mr. Kasolo urged farmers not to sale their products to briefcase buyers but government for the country’s food security.

And Mr. Kasolo says the 75 kwacha maize buying price is acceptable for farmers because briefcase buyers are buying the produce at very low prices.

He added that ZNS, the Zambia National Service officers have continued impounding trucks of mealie-meal and maize along the borders to avoid smuggling the staple food to neighbouring countries.

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