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Government bulldozes two Yao chiefs

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The government has managed to bulldoze its way to expand the Lhomwe belt into Machinga District, a predominantly Yao territory, despite protests from two traditional authorities (T/As), namely, Chamba and Mlomba.
Last year, the two chiefs told our sister paper—Malawi News—that they had been asked to cede part of their respective areas so that some Lhomwe group village heads could be elevated to sub-traditional authorities (Sub-T/ As)
The Lhomwe chiefs the government wanted to elevate are Group Village Headman Saidi Mataka under Mlomba and Group Village Headman Nyumwanyumwa under Chamba.
But, apparently, the government decided to go straight to Yao Paramount Chief Kawinga, by-passing the TAs.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Wednesday confirmed that Kawinga agreed and allowed the government to elevate the two Lhomwe group village heads to Sub-TAs despite protests from the lower chiefs.
Nankhumwa said in an interview, after he installed the two chiefs, that Kawinga did not see any problem and gave permission to elevate the two Lhomwe chiefs in his territory.
The Minister explained that a delegation from his ministry, together with the District Commissioner, was sent to discuss with Mlomba and Chamba.
“In attendance was Paramount Chief Kawinga. The meeting resolved the issues and Paramount Chief Kawinga wrote the ministry on the matter, further calling on us to go on and elevate Mataka and Nyumwanyumwa on January 16 2018,” he said.
The elevation of the two chiefs means that Machinga District has four Sub-TAs, 10 T/ As, three senior chiefs and one paramount chief.
The Lhomwe ethnic grouping is arguably the most influential tribe in Malawi at the moment.
Their political power is embedded in the presidency and the influence of the Mulhakho wa Alhomwe grouping
Yao chiefs in Machinga last year accused Lhomwe’s Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa of leading the charge to push Mlomba and Chamba to cede territory and dominion to two Lhomwe chiefs.
The two Yao chiefs said last year that they had refused to bow down to the demands of Ngolongoliwa and the Ministry of Local Government to give up territory to chiefs who are not originally from the Yao tribe.

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