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Malawi government queried in chief installation

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Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, has been accused of “ambushing” family members on the installation of Semion Nkhoma as Traditional Authority (T/A) Malanda in Nkhata Bay District.

Nankhumwa late last month unexpectedly stormed an Area Development Committee (ADC) meeting at Chintheche where he installed Nkhoma as T/A in what the family has said were bizarre circumstances.

The Malanda clan claims the minister deliberately used the unusual forum of installing chiefs to flout procedures that demand consultation with the royal family before installation.

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Secretary for the clan, Richard Msokemanja Longwe, said yesterday that the ceremony was deliberately done in absence of other family members who submitted Reverend Matiya Nkhoma’s name as heir to the chieftaincy position.

“We write to express surprise on the announcements and secret installation of new T/A Malanda which took place on October 28, 2016 [which is] contrary to our choice as a clan.

“The event also took place without the knowledge of the clan. May we be told the logic behind this? Was the news a real event or drama?” Longwe said.

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His query is contained in a letter addressed to public broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) dated November 10, 2016 which we have seen.

Director of Chiefs’ Administration in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Lawrence Makonokaya, described the installation as a co-incidence.

“The Minister indeed installed T/A Malanda and all procedures were followed before the actual installation. Installing a chief whether with an audience [or not] does not matter to the ministry,” Makonokaya said describing as jealousy those that are querying the installation.

Makonokaya claims the ministry sent communications on the installation to the clan about a month before the event.

District Commissioner, Alex Mdoka, said, in an interview, that his office received two nominations for the throne.

Mdoka said inquiries were conducted between the two families through T/A Mwankhunikira of Rumphi, Malengachanzi of Nkhotakota and Mwirang’ombe from Karonga who were sent by the Ministry of Local Government.

“The report which the chiefs compiled after meeting both families of Reverend Matiya Nkhoma and Simeon Nkhoma was sent to the ministry, then to the President who approved Simeon to be the chief,” Mdoka said.

Semion Nkhoma said, in an interview, the ceremony was not highly publicised to avoid disruption from the rival camp.

He, however said the village headmen, group village headmen and families who sided with him attended the ceremony.

Nkhoma also said he is planning to meet fellow Malanda clan of Reverend Nkhoma to end their differences for the sake of development in the area.

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