Lomwe becomes buzz word for Malawi’s employment, business

By Nyasa Times  Reporter

Again history seems to be repeating itself where tribe has reigned supreme in the appointment of persons in key government positions in Malawi.

During dictator Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda’s 31 year regime, the Chewa’s enjoyed a bigger and better share of appointments in top government positions. This had the unfortunate consequence of other tribes mobilising to fight the common enemy who in their wisdom had decided to monopolise the country’s employment cake.

The man who took over from Kamuzu, Bakili Muluzi started on a very good note spreading appointments to every corner of the country and at some point there were more ministers from the north than from his own Eastern region.

But as usual, the vice of ethnicity and religious extraction took the better of him and he stopped at nothing in elevating his Yao tribe and the Muslim factor.

Mutharika brothers: Mulakho wa Alhomwe leaders

The country suddenly saw the construction of so many mosques even in areas where a mosque was not required and indeed the Muslim dress became more predominant.

However, Muluzi maintained a fine mix and resisted the temptation of bloating his empire with his relations preferring to take on board.

Fast forward, enter Bingu wa Mutharika. Everybody expected the best from the academic and professional President who had spent years of honourable service in international corridors of powers.

Most Malawians were convinced that Bingu was going to be different and indeed was going to mend the wounds of one party state and the economic malaise of Muluzi administration because he had been detached from the Malawi system by his overseas stay.

But in a sudden and unprecedented development the country’s national fabric has given sway to one tribe leadership; the minority Lomwe’s under the umbrella of Mulkaho wa Alomwe have now assumed all the power in practically all the three arms of government.

Just to give a synopsis of the small picture that has emerged beginning with the Executive all position holders are Lomwe:

President Bingu wa Mutharika,

Minister of Agriculture, Mutharika Lomwe

Justice Minister Prof. Peter Mutharika Lomwe

Minister of Education Dr. George Chaponda Lomwe

Minister of Tourism Anna Kachikho Lomwe

Gender and Women affairs Patricia Kaliati Lomwe

Trade and Industry Eunice Kazembe Lomwe

Minister of Irrigation Richie Muheya Lomwe

Deputy finance minister Nihorya Lomwe

Deputy Lands and Housing T. Gowelo Lomwe

Deputy disabilities minister Felton Mulli Lomwe

Deputy information Minister Kingsley Namakhwa Lomwe

Deputy education Minister V. Sajeni Lomwe

The analysis of Principal secretaries also reflect the pattern that has favoured the same Mulhakho belt.

Within the Executive big institutions have largely been assigned to the same Mulhakho belt and following sample might help to prove this point.

Admarc General Manager Dr. Charles Matabwa Lomwe

Admarc Finance Director Foster Mulumbe Lomwe

Admarc Head of Admin. George Bakuwa Lomwe

Auction Holdings CEO Evance .Matabwa Lomwe

Masaf boss Edward Sawelengera Lomwe

Immigration Chief Elvis Thodi Lomwe

Anti Corruption Bureau Director Alex Nampota Lomwe

Director of Intelligence Clement Kapalamula Lomwe

Inspector General of Police, Patrick Mukhito Lomwe

Chairperson Malawi Electoral Commission, Anastanzia Msosa Lomwe

Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo Lomwe

Clerk of Parliament Maltilda Katopola Lomwe

Attorney General Jane Ansah Lomwe

Secretary to Treasury Randson Madiwa Lomwe

General Manager Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) Mondiwa Lomwe

MBC- Director General Patrick Khoza Lomwe

Malawi Savings Bank-CEO Joseph Mwanamvekha Lomwe

This is just but a sample of the spread of portifolios that have been allocated to the Mulhakho sect particularly those from the Thyolo belt.

An analysis of the middle management down to the supervisory cadre has also shown an average growth of more persons from the same ethnic extraction.

Various commentators have expressed different sentiments. Talking to Jakison Mehera of Bvumbwe, he said: “It is our time to enjoy ourselves and have all the good things, others will also have their time when the leadership goes to their homes.”

Old man Nayeja from the same Bvumbwe area cautioned against this development warning that what is happening today will negatively affect Lomwe children in the years to come.

“The Lomwes may suffer when the President is out of power like what is happening to the Yaos and Chewas. The Yaos were all over and introduced several bad programs and were also taking all prominent jobs and today they are in trouble.

“Malawi is for everyone, good jobs must be given to every deserving citizens except small projects in the districts should be given to those that come from that district,” said Nayeja.

Caroline Nalikwekwe from Chonde in Mulanje was different claiming that she has seen very little development to the ordinary people of the Lomwe tribe saying: “There is nothing that has happened to the Lomwes we’re still struggling, we’ve no land, no jobs for our children, we have not seen new boreholes and we’re still waiting for the loans.”

Stanley Mopiha from Mulanje boma simply said that “the richest Lomwes have become richer while the poor have become poorer.”

Nyasa Times talked to Mathews Nyirenda of Mzuzu who complained that the northern region has been neglected in every government including the colonial rule.

“The same has happened even after declaring the North as the home of ruling DPP. At least Muluzi did something for us but this government has done nothing for the North and when we complain we’re described as trouble makers and proud people.

“The Karonga- Chitipa road is still 15 kilometres, the’re no new schools, hospitals and projects. Most of our brilliant sons were dismissed and are now just languishing,” said Nyirenda who now runs a small telephone bureau around the Mzuzu market.

Kansichi Banda of Chipara Kasungu was however full of praises for Bingu for uplifting the spirit of Kamuzu by appointing cabinet ministers from the districts especially the niece to dictator, Ken Kandodo who is the country’s new Finance Minister.

“The whole country had condemned Kamuzu but it is only Mutharika who has remembered him. After so many years we now have cabinet ministers. We caution Bingu to avoid mistakes of Kamuzu and those of Muluzi. Bingu must be careful with his advisors, he must be careful with the police, he must also be careful with his politicians who encourage him to hate or torture people,” summed up Kansichi Banda now at 81 years.

A Muslim Sheikh at Liwonde had no kind words for Bingu saying he has been cruel to the Yaos and he is trying to destroy Islam.

“The President is torturing us every day, he is arresting our chiefs, he is torturing Muluzi and he is chasing all our sons, only Allah will tell,” complained Sheikh Che Mboga.

Other respondents have decried the tendency of only looking at one tribe of the Lomwes as the only bona fide Malawians as this may result in permanent stigmatisation of the clan.

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