Save Zomba's Monumental Trees & Buildings

This petition made change with 251 supporters!

We, the undersigned are concerned about the rapid felling of Zomba’s signature Mbawa Trees over the past week and the planned destruction of monumental historical buildings in view of the scheduled M3 road improvement.  We are concerned that :


1.      more trees have been felled than was previously agreed by the ZOMSEC sub-committee of Zomba City Council; even outside the marked road boundary.

2.      recommendations from the Environmental Impact Assessment have not been followed, which states:

The general public expressed concern not to cut the historic Mibawa trees(Angolensis sp.) growing along the M3 road in the City (Page 82)

To reduce or minimize the above impacts, the contractor has been advised to: b) Reroute if possible to avoid sensitive areas, c) Minimize the cutting of trees and vegetation, e) Avoid areas of Historic interest" (page 89)

3.      various policy documents such as the Malawi Growth & Development Strategy Paper II & the Economic Recovery Plan, as well as the draft Cultural Policy, highlight the need to develop the (cultural) tourism sector as this is a sector of high potential to become a significant forex earner. Destroying Zomba's landmark trees and architecture is against these policies as it undermines Zomba's tourist appeal.

 Although the proposed road development affects relatively few historical buildings, buildings such as the District Assembly and the Police Headquarters are however unique in architecture and socio-historical significance. Moreover, it is the high density of historical buildings in Zomba that brings the appeal. Taking down some of the more prominent buildings is a serious violation of its integrity. Heritage and development can readily go hand in hand, as has amply been demonstrated in other historic towns elsewhere in the world and indeed Africa; we mention Zanzibar, Mozambique Island and Elmina.


We call on Zomba City Council and the National Roads Authority, in response to the voice of concerned citizens and signatories below, to halt the tree felling and destruction of historical buildings until further negotiations have taken place. We are confident an alternative, less destructive, road improvement plan can be drawn up. 

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