Guillime Parish snatches land from family

The remnants of the Gomani chieftancy in Mchinji are living in fear for their lives due to persistent police intimidation who are hired by Catholic clergy at Guillime Parish to stop them from claiming 3.9 hectares the clergy has grabbed from them.

Group village headman Gomani and senior group headman Chinkota have expressed surprise at the conduct of the clergy, Sister Elizabeth Chiwaya and Fr. Chizule who insist that the piece of land belongs to the church when even the Ministry of Lands fined the clergy to either pay K1.3 million to the family or leave the land.

Family member Daniel Sungamoyo said the parish has built five houses for its employees at the clinic at the parish.

“We complained to Monsignor Sonkhani and he told us to keep cool. Lands officials came and inspected the land and found that the church had invaded the land and told the church to either pay us K1.3 million and get the land or leave it. The DC even wrote the church that they had invaded our land but the clergy are adamant to pay or leave the land,” said Sungamoyo.

He said when family members went to the piece of land to fell trees, they were confronted by Fr. Chizule and Sr. Chiwaya.

“There was verbal war and the clergy went to police. Police descended on us with guns for defending our own land.  That was not the first time the police had pounced on us with guns. But chiefs, the DC, and Lands officials are agree with us that the land is ours.

“In fact, when the church started building the houses, and we raised concern, Sr. Chiwaya said they were going to continue with the project and should Lands rule in the family favour, the church was ready to pay the compensation but they are not,” said Sungamoyo.

According to Sungamoyo, the parish has involved the Lilongwe Archdiocese lawyer into the matter.

“We cannot afford a lawyer. What does the church want to prove? It is our land and everybody agrees. In fact, we are a royal family and the parish is doing that because they have realized that we have lost our ancestors and parents who defended our land,” he said.

But he vowed that the family members will protect their land even if it means shedding blood.

Sr. Chiwaya and Fr. Chizule did not answer their phones when called several times.

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