The influential Malawi News has criticized the move by Local Government and Rural Development Ministry descending on two chiefs in Machinga, a predominantly Yao district, with a mission to convince them to sign off part of their territory to accommodate the expansion for living space of the Lhomwe tribe to which President Peter Mutharika belongs to.
In an editorial comment following the story it published that Lhomwe Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa is leading the expansion drive and has already met Traditional Authorities Chamba and Mlomba of Machinga, asking them to cede part of their territories.
The paper reported that Ngolongoliwa, who was picked from relative obscurity as a Group Village Headman (GVH) to become Paramount Chief within a period of three years, has been leading the charge to push two Yao chiefs into falling in line and has support of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
According to the report, chiefs Mlomba and Chamba, revealed that they were surprised to see government officials comprising the Principal Secretary for Local Government Kiswell Dakamau, Director for Chiefs Administration Charles Thombozi, and District Commissioner for Machinga Bester Mandele forcing them to sign letters which were approving the appointment of the two GHVs as STAs.
The weekly questions President Mutharika and his government: “What is going on and how does this effort of seemingly overplaying the hand of one tribe at the expense others help in nation building of the one Malawi that we all desire.”
The paper said the governing Democrtaic Progressive Party (DPP) has decided to be nepotistic in whatever it does and Lomwe tribe of the President has become “the Alpha and Omega of this nation”, saying the Machinga incident is a classic example of it all.
“But we have word to this administration. Malawi belongs to all Malawians from Chitipa to Nsanje; Nkhotakota to Mchinji and this must reflect in whatever we are doing to keep it together,” reads the comment.
The paper warned that the DPP administration is “treading on dangerous ground to ever imagine that it can alienate some Malawians in this country in favour of one group.”
It said the Local Government Ministry top leadership should, therefore, “hang its face in utter shame” for descending on two defenceless Yao chiefs in Machinga “just to force them to give up their territories in favour of expansion drive plans of a tribe the President belongs to and being championed by the DPP administration favourite chief.”