Chieftaincy wrangle render 3 Malawi families homeless

Three families have been rendered homeless in Malawi’s eastern district of Balaka district after their houses were demolished following chieftaincy wrangle that erupted at a funeral ceremony.

The incident started on Wednesday 13th August, 2014 at Chitale in the area of Group village headman Phillip Mbewe after a 28 year old man who went to the area under Kuzigulira Malo Project five years ago passed on.

Sources say the bereaved family reported the issue to Group village headman Phillip Mbewe who in turn asked Group Village headman Chikhasu to allow them burry their relative at his grave yard as usual.

One of houses demolished and the owner showing the officers: Courtesy of Balaka police

One of houses demolished and the owner showing the officers: Courtesy of Balaka police

But Group village headman Chikhasu told them that they should consult their new Group village headman to identify a burial place for them.

“This did not go well with the bereaved family and their sympathizers who thought that the new Group village headman Assani connived with Group village headman Chikhasu not to allow them use his burial place.

“In protest the bereaved family and their sympathizers instead dug a grave right at Group village headman Assan’s house,” says the sources.

This forces some people to call for the Police who rushed to the scene and intervened.

“Then the Group village headman Chikhasu allowed them to use his grave yard and burial ceremony took place around 1800 hours.  But the grave which was dug at Group village headman Assan’s house was left unburied,” said the sources.

They say the following day the bereaved family and their sympathizers organised themselves and assaulted and demolished three houses of Group village headman Assan,  Dafuleni Mgwagwa and Lajabu Hassani who were installed by Traditional Chanthunya as village headmen claiming that they were behind the delay of the burial ceremony.

The victims were rescued by the Police and were referred to Balaka District Hospital for treatment where they were treated as out-patients.

According to the bereaved family and their sympathizers, the houses were demolished because they don’t want the three in the area claiming they are bringing confusion due to chieftaincy wrangle.

They said they do not recognize them as Chiefs because Traditional Authority Chanthunya did not consult them when installing them and what they know is that they are under group village headman Phillip Mbewe.

Meanwhile the Balaka police have confirmed the arrest of twelve people in connection to the fracas

“They are expected to appear before court soon where they will answer a case of malicious damage and assault occasioning on actual bodily harm,” says Balaka police spokesman Sub-inspector Joseph Sauka.

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