Justice and Peace of Karonga Diocese desk officer Louis Nkhata has urged community leaders in Chitipa and Karonga districts to desist from corrupt practices when dealing with miners.
Speaking on Thursday at a mining meeting, he told community leaders to push for legally binding mining deals
“There have been complaints from communities that investors palm oil traditional leaders to silence them not to demand social amenities from miners.
“So, we have told them that both community members and chiefs have to push for the signing of memoranda of understanding [MoUs] with an investor before any mining activity begins,” said Nkhata.
Group village head Mbilima from Traditional Authority Mwaulambya said the meeting came at a right time when some traditional leaders in Chitipa are being accused of receiving bribes.
“As a traditional leader, I have learnt a lot. It is true that some community leaders are greedy. I will sensitise my fellow chiefs to lobby for developments that will benefit everyone,” he said.
PiliraniKalambo from Kasiziki Coal Mine said the meeting enlightened him such that he will be in the forefront demanding transparency and accountability in drafting of MoUs to avoid misunderstandings between investors and the community.
“We have been taught how to apply the free, prior, information and consent [Fpic] theory and engage various stakeholders on the drafting and implementation of an MoU,” he said.
Justice and Peace of Karonga Diocese, with funding from Oxfam, is implementing an extractive project in the two districts.