Hunger tearing apart marriages


The acute food shortage which Malawi is currently experiencing is said to be destroying families in some parts of the country following revelations that some men have now resorted to deserting their families in favour of women who are without children.

Some of these cases have been reported in Traditional Authorities (T/A) Nankumba, Katuli, Bwananyambi and Makanjira in Mangochi and TAs Mposa, Nsanama, Mlomba and Chamba in Machinga where the respective chiefs have confirmed.

In separate interviews, Senior Chief Chamba and T/A Mlomba explained that their offices have been overwhelmed by cases of women who are coming on a daily basis to lodge complaints that their husbands have deserted them.


On average, the chiefs say they receive about three cases daily.

“The situation is unbearable. I do not know what to do with these women because the practice is increasing at an alarming late. Men are leaving their families without saying where they are going. Some of them are said to be working in farms in Mozambique. Unfortunately, most of these men do not return or send any support to their families,” Chamba said.

He said the trend is common among families that have more than five dependents as well as families which are headed by teenagers who have no permanent source of income.


The traditional leader said the situation has forced some woman into prostitution in order to find money to support their families.

Things in T/A Makanjira are not different. Women and their children have been left to survive on mangoes as men migrate to Mozambique to work. Some of them, however, are able to send some assistance to their families according to T/A Makanjira.

“But the majority of them do not come back such that we are having households being headed by women and they are in need of help. The situation is made worse because we have a lot of people that need food assistance but only a few are benefiting from the relief items,” complained Makanjira.

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