Victimized Karonga villagers accuse Malawi govt of denying them justice

Residents of Mangulu village in Malawi’s northern district of Karonga District are accusing President Joyce Banda’s administration of denying them justice by failing to take to book people who destroyed their property and injured them during a land fracas  which broke out between them and  the neighboring Chakwera villagers.

The two neighboring villages, located in Kaporo in the area of Traditional Authority Kilupura, have been at logger heads for some years over a piece of land in Mangulu village’s side which the Chakwera villagers claim is theirs.

The wrangle went sour in December when people of Chakwera village invaded Mangulu village and attacked residents with pangas, axes, and stones and raped a 21 year old girl who was later fixed a big mango fruit into her private parts.

The invaders also attacked every villager, and looted house property, subsidy fertilizer bags, livestock, bags of rice and maize among other things and left the people almost with nothing.

Disgruntled residents in Karonga

Disgruntled residents in Karonga

To the surprise of the victims, Karonga Police only arrested Village Headman Chakwera and another villager after they were identified as ring leaders but left scot free several others who took part in the destruction.The Karonga District Council which had been on the center of reconciliation between the two villages was also quiet on the matter , a development  that led the victimized villagers to level corrupt allegations against the police and the District Council officials.

This prompted the victims to present their grievances to President Banda, late December, for immediate action against the perpetrators.

“Since then nothing has happened except the visit by the District Commissioner Emmanuel Bambe who and officials from the department of disaster preparedness came to assess the situation”, says Kennan Mkandawire a village headman’s councilor at Mangulu.

Mkandawire says the government officials only promised to provide them with relief items which until now they have not fulfilled.

He  added that the victims expected government to immediately respond on the stolen subsidized fertilizer bags and maize seed by providing them with other assistance.

The area depends on rice farming and the victims are worried that the development will even affect their economic standards because they have nothing to rely on for their economy apart from rice production.

“We are even appealing to the president to assist us will loans for buying farm inputs especially fertilizer and seed so that we can also plant though time has gone

“What is mostly paining us is the failure to arrest the perpetrators who even sexually assaulted our girl, she is traumatized and she feels her future is doomed but the police are doing nothing up on them, we are being denied justice, and we are still appeal to government for action”, Mkandawire says.

Karonga police spokesperson Enock Livasoni said police are still investigating the matter.

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) Executive Director Undule Mwakasungula said there was urgent need to address the matter.

He however said CHRR condemn “the victimisation of women in this case in totality.”

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