Newly enacted Land Law not suitable for Ngoni patrilineal culture –Inkosi Mpherembe

Barely a week before government in conjunction with LandNet Malawi starts applying the newly enacted land law; Inkosi Mpherembe of Mzimba District says the law is not suitable for communities that practice patrilineal culture.

Mlaka: Landnet Malawi chief

The newly enacted land law, among other things, seeks to empower women to own land and have it registered in their own names.

Speaking in an intervie,  Inkosi Mpherembe, said in his Ngoni culture women are controlled and supported by men in all endeavours; therefore, no need for them (women) to register land on their own.

“I don’t know what it means to empower women because as far as Ngoni tradition is concerned, they are already empowered; they are part of the husband, accessing the land that the husband is working on. If a woman is married to me, she has access to the same land that I have, full stop!” said the Inkosi.

He continued: “Let me give you an example; if my sister would like to have a piece of land for whatever purpose, it’s my duty to share with her my piece of land because she is my own blood. If I don’t, where will she go?”

Under the new land law, the governance and administration of land will be shifted from customary to statutory so that there should be no difference whether you are coming from patrilineal or matrilineal culture.

Inkosi Mpherembe however said anyone in Mzimba including women owns land even if they go and marry somewhere; their land always remains theirs.

“The best is for us to use the available land collectively as a family. We don’t have any problem of land issues here in Mzimba, maybe this newly enacted land law can be applicable and applied elsewhere not here,” he said.

However, a chairperson of one the mother groups in the area (name withheld) said the newly enacted law has come at the right time when many women lose property including land, especially when their husbands die.

“This new law will assist many women in the country to do their own things including farming and construction of houses comfortably, knowing that no one can tamper with them,” she said.

Commenting on the matter, Coordinator for LandNet Malawi, Emmanuel Mlaka, said he was aware that many traditional chiefs in the country are not happy with the newly enacted law.

“Let me say this, they are chiefs because they have got people and those people are theirs because they are alive. If there is any chief who does not care about the livelihood of his people, then he is not prepared to be a chief,” Mlaka said.

He said this land law will among other things strengthen access to food and for this to happen people including women must have access to land.

Government in conjunction with LandNet will start implementing the land law in a pilot phase in three districts of Mzimba in the area of Inkosi Mpherembe, Kasungu in area of Senior Chief Lukwa and in Phalombe.

LandNet Malawi is a network of at least 40 Civil Society Organisations that advocate for pro-poor and equitable land and natural resources policies, legislation and decision making processes that enhance livelihoods and sustainable utilization of natural resources.

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George Hisa

To hero with land law.We have been caring for our families since Africa was born.Don’t force unnecessary laws on people.That law should be cancelled now.Chiefs don’t loss your powers to politicians.wake up MCP,AFORD,PP and others Long live Federation of Malawi..see you in May 2017.

Concerned ngoni

A Njoyaman you have gone to the extreme, can you compare humans with dogs then you are one of the dogs. Comment without touching on other peoples cultural practices

@Njoyaman, you have just demonstrated how you seem not to understand that the world is changing and dismantling all the old structures and cultures that are particularly oppressive to women: 1. Today, MANY women and men (as couples) stay in town, so, a woman does not need to follow a man to his village upon marriage as was the so-called tradition. By the way, there are now women who are well educated and own houses that when married, it is the MAN who follows them (the women). So, due to modernization and urbanization, a lot of woman do not need… Read more »

This chief is hanging on to an archaic cultural practice which has presided over the subjugation and marginalisation of women. A woman is not a man’s property, neither are fortunes dependent on the goodwill of some “benevolent” male figure. The world is changing and women’s rights are being recognised as equal to those of men. If you’re a chief presiding over a people, don’t think that you own them and that you have greater rights to dole out to women as and when you wish. Human rights are universal and non-negotiable. Why do you want to perpetuate a backward culture?


kkkkk…Very funy indeed; the so called 21 st century has nothing to do with peoples culture. Inkosi mpherembe is not wrong here, perhaps he is explaining about how they deal and treat women when they come to land issues as Ngoni people. What about your side( culture). How do you do it? tell us!!.

Mind you ndi malamulo anuwa mzimayi simudziwa. Mzimayi atha kupha or kuthamangitsa mamuma the moment wadzimva kuti chili chonse chili dzina lake. Hard it been you are encouraging all men and women the moment akupanga register malo nyumba adzionetseratu kuti ngati ngati wina kufa immediately malowo akhala amkaziwo or mamunayo. Zimenezo zongalimbikitse mabanja ambiri. Women who are working and have their own money it’s ok they can buy their own property though there are alot of condition that are needed to understand. My last words are musamangotengera zakunja mkhumati modern world yet you have your own culture and have to… Read more »
Zander mutiuze

Actually its better a woman owns land because in divorce women protects children. A man always remarries and the new wife controls economic and If he is in luck marries a greed woman the man can not support hos children from previous marriage. Bu a woman will always protect her children and see they have nice life. Some women remain Un married for fear that her children will not be loved by new husband.

Backward thinking by the Inkosi. Women are no longer a man`s property. This is 21st century where women have the right to own land, in fact, educated women can buy and own land. They are already doing so in towns and cities. But women in villages need empowerment to own land. So, well done, to APM`s government for introducing the land law. In fact, patrileaneal culture is archaic, we women of today have more money than men. So, women should refuse dowry… malowolo is a backward cultural practice. It is this VERY practice that poisons men`s attitude – leading them… Read more »
njoya man
@Nawo it’s u who is archaic. Dowry or malowolo have a meaning in our culture. If u r coming from a place where people marry like dogs then do not condemn other cultures. It’s only dogs that move from their place to follow the female because it’s at heat. Humans follow cultural marriage procedures. The issue here is owning land not demeaning other cultural groups. If the chiefs thinking is faulty it doesn’t mean that all people in his chiefs share with his faulty thinking. If u r a prostitute does it mean all your relatives r prostitutes? What a… Read more »
You must be a chewa/matrilineal woman. In your culture, men are a non entity. They take no responsibility in raising children because they believe their children are property of their wives brothers…thats why many of you believe your home is where your mother comes from.interestingly, the brothers also don’t own their children. What a confused lot you are. Mzimba and the North in general, both women and men own land and children. Our wives belong to our villages and own land forever. Land is passed in from one child to the other through mothers. Where your mother was cultuvatiting is… Read more »

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