Joyce Banda to intervene in Mchinji house ‘row’

A row has reportedly erupted over ownership of a house that Vice President Joyce Banda handed over to an elderly widow, Gogo Odetta  Ntoniyo Kaphande, at Wilson Village in Traditional Zulu’s area in Mchinji in early February, 2012.

An 80-year old Odetta Ntoniyo Kaphande was wife to the late Group Village Headman Paipi Chipula Kaphande who died in October, 2011. Banda attended the VGH’s funeral and upon learning that he had left his wife and grand and great grandchildren in a dilapidated house, the Vice President of the Republic undertook to rehabilitate the house for the widow to give them a better place to live in.

The Vice President, who is also the founding President of the People’s Party (PP) had asked members of the PP’s Orange Achievers wing to mobilize financial and other resources for the rehabilitation of the house, which they did until the project came to fruition.

However, according to villagers, soon after the VP handed over the house to the widow, the ‘heir to the chieftaincy’ after the death of GVH Kaphande who is a brother-in-law to the elderly widow, demanded that he moves into the house “because Joyce Banda built it for the GVH”.

In an interview with Nyasa Times at the village, Chief Nastansia Wilson confirmed there was indeed a row over ownership of the house but that it had been dealt with amicably by the parties involved.

She said as a Chief, she reasoned with the VGH that the house was meant for the elderly widow and her grand and great grandchildren, most of whom were orphans.

Meanwhile, the VP confirmed to Nyasa Times in an interview at her official Area 12 residence in the Capital City that she had received reports of the row and that she was considering “assisting the new Group Village Headman” in order to ease the tension that the new house may have brought. She did not elaborate.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Gogo Odetta Ntoniyo Kaphande played down the row over the house, saying she keeps “many” orphans and it would be unwise for anyone to want to snatch away the house from her.

“Our mother (Joyce Banda) saw the suffering I was going through; she sympathized with me and built this modern house for me and my grand and great grandchildren. It could be cruelty of the highest degree for anyone to think of evicting me,” said Gogo Odetta Ntoniyo Kaphande.

She paid tribute to the VP for her “rare contribution” towards the improvement of her livelihood and that of the small children she stays with, enthusing they no longer worry about a “leaking roof” when rains are falling.

The old woman’s sister in-law Nanjinga Yusuf, granddaughters, Eliza John, who has a four-year old daughter herself, Grace Nezeliyo, a mother of an eight-year old son and widowed Teresia Wiseman paid tribute to the Vice President for her “selfless act” and wished she would help many other suffering old women across the country.

Village Headwoman Wilson requested the VP and the People’s Party to consider drilling a borehole in the village as the current sources of water were unsafe resulting in deaths from waterborne diseases.

The house
Teresia Wiseman
The house, grand children and Odetta

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