By Thomson kanyinji
Reformed Timber Millers Union (RTMU) members in Chikangawa forest have threatened to hold vigils at Raiply offices from next week to force Government to allocate them with hectares of land similar to that being allocated to foreign companies for tree harvesting.
Speaking during a press briefing in Mzuzu, executive member for the union, Cecilia Mussa, said the decision has been reached after their meeting with the minister of Natural Resources Energy and Mining, Biton Kuntsaira, yielded nothing.
Mussa said the union gave Government a 7-day ultimatum which elapsed on Monday, September 2.
“We have been discussing with the government but the authorities are showing no interest in responding to our demands and if they fail to act by Saturday then we will have no option but to hold another protest,” said Musa.
President of the union, Paul Nthambazale, said members of the union are furious with the government’s failure to act on the matter despite the union holding several meetings with the minister of Natural Resources Energy and Mining,
Nthambazale further expressed concern that Government has failed to prioritize the welfare of its citizens but instead it is favoring the foreigners.
Few weeks ago the angry union members sealed Chikangawa forestry offices in protest against the same issue.
A few months ago, government obtained an injunction from the High Court restraining the locals from plying their timber milling trade in the forest on the basis that they were destroying the forest, however the injunction was vacated soon after the two sides held talks.