Lilongwe muslims, villagers resolve graveyard row
BY WATIPASO MZUNGU,
Group Village (GVH) Mtsinje and the Muslim community in Area 38, Lilongwe, have resolved their long-standing differences over burial space at a local graveyard.
The development marks the return of unity, peace and harmony among the residents of the area which has seen incidents of violence between the two sides as they battled for control of burial space.
Mtsinje and his subjects had issued a decree denying Muslims a space in the area’s graveyard.
This resulted in 17 people sustaining various degrees of injuries in a feud that broke out between the two parties following an order from Mtsinje overruling a decision by a block leader to allocate burial space to a muslim family which had lost its six-month-old baby.
This compelled Kawale Police to arrest Mtsinje and several of his subjects as violence between the two sides worsened.
It took the intervention of Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) and Lilongwe Inter-faith Dialogue Association (Lida) to initiate contact and dialogue between the indigenous residents and the non-indigenous, particularly the Muslims, in trying to bring about peaceful coexistence between the two groups.
Mtsinje said on Monday that he had apologised to the Muslim community for the “unfortunate scene” in an effort to mend relations after the violent confrontation.
“On behalf of my subjects and indeed on my own behalf, we are very sorry for our action against our Muslim brothers and sisters. I promise that this ugly scene will never happen again,” he said.
Mtsinje commended CfSC, Lida and the police for resolving the conflict without involving the conventional courts.
In response, Muslim Association of Malawi (Mam) Lilongwe District Chairperson, Sheikh Abdulhakim Mussa, expressed his contentment that the misunderstanding had been resolved and gave the assurance that the Muslim community would live peacefully and respect other religious organisations and cultures in the area.
“We are very glad that the chief has come to realise his mistake. As a Muslim community, we receive his apology with deep sense of thanks and appreciation,” said Mussa.
CfSC Inter-Religious Dialogue Programme Officer, Tobias Jere, pledged continued moral and spiritual support to the two parties as they begin a new chapter in their lives.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues