Mangochi Muslims protest, demand education official’s transfer

Commotion ensued on Friday morning when communities from Masongola Zone in Namwela, Mangochi stormed District Education Manager’s office (Demo) demanding the transfer of Primary Education Advisor (PEA), Muwake Chauluka.

The angry communities stoned Demo’s building, smashing windows as well as destroying Chauluka’s house property. They also injured Principal accountant who was later rushed to Mangochi District Hospital for treatment.

Chauluka who is also Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) president is currently a fugitive as the communities are baying for his blood.

Sheikh Idrissa Sungawana claimed that the PEA expels Muslim female teachers from the zone if they insist on wearing the Hijjab (head scarf) when teaching in the area.

Mangochi march

Mangochi march

“Mr. Muwake has been championing the teaching of Bible Knowledge instead of Religious Education which the community in Namwera did not agree to and besides that education standards in Namwera have gone down because the teachers do not report for work fearing that Muwake would castigate them,” Sungawana claimed.

Sungawana who is also the School Management Committee Chair for Mama Khadija Government School said the general conduct of the PEA leaves a lot to be desired as he sometimes shouts at teachers in the presence of learners leading to de-motivation among most of the teachers.

Mangochi police Public Relations Officer, Rodrick Maida confirmed of the incident, which happened two days after the communities had petitioned authorities on Wednesday.

“They (communities) argued that the Demo neglected their petition to transfer the PEA. And yesterday they came with another petition for the District Commissioner (DC) before the commotion ensued,” explained Maida.

Maida said the situation is currently back to normal and that they have not arrested anybody in relation to the incident.

According to the petition, education authorities in the district were given 48 hours to transfer Chauluka from the area for ‘uttering seditious remarks’.

Chauluka is accused of insulting Muslims in the districts for being uneducated during graduation ceremony at Our Lady of Lordies secondary school.

Chauluka is said to have uttered ‘Muzilimbiikira sukulu ana inu, musamakhale ngati Achawa; azindikira liti Achawa sukulu?’

He is also accused of promoting bible knowledge studies than religious education as sanctioned by government.

In an interview, secretary for the concerned communities, Yusuf Kassam said Chauluka needs to be transferred for promoting ‘foreign rules’ which discriminate Muslims.

Kassam accused Chauluka of stopping Muslim female teachers from dressing in Hijab during working hours.

“He chased a female teacher at Masongola 1 Primary school because she was in Hijab. He even introduced double shifts in schools inorder to prohibit Muslim children from attending Madrasah.”

Receiving the petition from the concerned party, District Education Manager for Mangochi, Sam Kalanda said management had received the petition, assuring them that the petition would be thoroughly scrutinized before a decision could be made.

“We have received the petition and due consideration will be given before a decision can be made,” Kalanda said.

According to the petitioners, this is the second time Namwera Community is petitioning the DEM’s office in Mangochi on the same matter concerning the PEA in question.

Muwake who has been in the zone since 2009 has been given 48 hours to leave the area or face unspecified action.—(Additional reporting by Andrew Silumbu, Mana)

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