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Divisions among Chewa groups

A splinter group called Bwalo la Achewa Foundation has been launched in Dowa District, a development that has not pleased Chewa Heritage Foundation (Chefo).

Bwalo la Achewa was launched in Dowa on Saturday at a ceremony that Traditional Authority (T/A) Gowe from Nsanje District, and his counterparts Kaluluma and Chulu from Kasungu District, attended.

Bwalo la Achewa Executive Director, Reverend Flywel Somanje, said the group was formed to unite Chewas.

“Ours is a national grouping just like any other heritage in Malawi. This is a registered organisation with the Government of Malawi. Usually, when there is change, people talk a lot of things and we have done everything using our own resources and this shows that we are not sponsored by any political party,”

“That is why you did not see any political figure when we were launching this group. We did it deliberately because we do not want some people to be confused.” Somanje said.

Somanje founded the group while Senior Chief Kalonga of Salima was the guest of honour at the launch.

Paramount Chief Lundu of Chikwawa District is the patron of the group but did not attend the launch because he is reportedly in India.

Before the launch of the group, Chefo executive committee members led by secretary general Richard Mdyetseni, hosted a press briefing in Lilongwe on Friday, claiming that the splinter group wanted to bring conflict among Chewas.

“We have noted with reservations the approval and launch of Bwalo la Achewa on September 7 2019 in Dowa District. Chefo is the only Malawi Chewa representative group sanctioned by the head of the Chewa tribe, Gawa Undi. This is rebellion to tribal authority, threat to national unity as well as social development,” he said.

Chefo believes in their king Gawa Undi who is based in Zambia. Once every year all Chewas meet in Zambia at a ceremony called Kulamba.

It is estimated that there are over 1.5 million Chewas in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. In Malawi, Chewas are concentrated in the Central Region.

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