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Chaos in Karonga after chief’s death

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Property estimated to be worth over K10 million is said to have been destroyed in the fight that broke out at Chakwera Village in Traditional Authority Kilupula in Karonga.

Hell broke loose on Monday following disagreements among family members over the cause of death of Group Village Headman (GVH) Chakwera, real name Jeromy Kumwenda.

In the clashes, eight houses were torched but no arrests have been made, police have confirmed.

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While Karonga Police spokesperson Enock Livason said Chakwera had been sick, his son Pious Kumwenda maintained in a telephone interview that his father’s death was sudden.

“He enjoyed robust health until bedtime on Sunday night. While sleeping, he started bleeding and producing foam in the mouth,” Kumwenda said.

Chakwera was pronounced dead on arrival at Kaporo Health Centre.

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Livason said police findings indicate that some family members close to the deceased suspect that one of the relatives bewitched the chief in order to take over the chieftaincy.

He said an angry mob set ablaze houses belonging to the suspect’s two wives and those of six others.

Said Livason: “A case of arson has been reported against Mwera Kumwenda, Nkhalo Chirambo, Kondwani Kachali, Adam Msompha, Vita Kondowe, Andrew Mwakilama, George Kumwenda and Chipalura Nyirenda. We are yet to be advised on their full particulars.”

On the results of the post-mortem, Kumwenda, who could not recall his father’s age, said: “We are waiting for results as the body has just been embalmed. I can’t say much but maybe natural causes could be ruled out for now.”

There were similar skirmishes in 2013 when 55 houses were burnt down following disagreements among family members over items from the Farm Input Subsidy Programme.

Chakwera was installed GVH in 2002 and is survived by two wives and five children.

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