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Divisional Officer Annuls Mukonje-Malende Land Dispute Settlement 

By Maxcel Fokwen

The Divisional Officer, DO, for Kumba III Subdivision in the Southwest Region, Gilbert Gubai Baldena, has annulled a settlement that ended a long-lasting land dispute between Mukonje and Malende Chiefdoms last December 5, 2014.
According to a communiqué signed by the administrator, dated February 13, 2015, a copy of which The Post procured, the action follows fresh claims laid on the same disputed area by the Mambanda chiefdom.
The administrator has, however, called on the respective chiefdoms to continue living in peace and harmony, while a solution is being sought.

Though many are yet to understand Mambanda’s claims to the piece of land, observers hold that the upsurge in the scramble for land within and around Kumba is owed to the creation of the Higher Technical Teachers Training College, HTTTC, Kumba.
The various villages want land, observers hold, either to host structures of the HTTTC, sell to the school administration or lecturers, or build hostels to be rented out to students.

The administrative decision equally comes barely two weeks after Chief Dr. Gabriel Ebanja of Mukonje village told reporters in Buea that there was no longer any land squabble between Malende and Kumba.
Observers maintain that the people of Malende may end up missing to host HTTTC Kumba due to the land dispute and given the level of influence elite of Mambanda and Mukonje wield locally and nationally.

In the last few months, the people of Mukonje have been laying claims to Malende as originally being a quarter within Mukonje; while Malende, according to its present Chief, Peter Esambi Nogh, had acquired the status of an independent chiefdom since the days of his late father Chief DJ Ngoh.
There have been arrests and detentions of persons, mainly from Malende, while Mukonje is decrying the outright disrespect of her century-old palace by unknown individuals who stormed it and destroyed items alongside the national flag.

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