Mangochi Muslims occupy government offices


Unbelievable as it may sound, but some concerned members of the Muslim community in Mangochi have confiscated an office complex belonging to the Department of Transport and Public Works and handed it over to Mangochi Muslim Jamaat.

The grouping has further warned that it will continue to seize more public and private structures within the township claiming that government and other individuals acquired the land dubiously.

Speaking in an interview with The Daily Times, on Thursday, some members of the grouping said that they are grabbing the offices because government is failing to look after the structures.


According to them, the land where the offices are built was acquired for free by government from their grandparents without compensating them when government was constructing the Liwonde-Mangochi Road in the early 1970s.

“The site was being used by contractors during the period they were constructing the Mangochi-Liwonde Road. After the construction, it was handed over to Drimp [District Roads Improvement Programme] before being turned into offices for the Department of Transport and Public Works,” said one of the members who refused to be identified arguing that there is only one leader, Allah (God).

However, the members allege that over 13 years after the department of works stopped operating from these premises, some government officers have been privately renting out the offices to private companies in which rentals were being deposited into a personal account of a retired District Commissioner who once served in the district.


“Our question which the district and town council officials are failing to answer is: how come that rentals for government buildings end up in somebody’s personal account? These people have been stealing from government and we want this to stop that is why we have repossessed the land so that it can start benefiting a lot of people,” he said as his colleagues urged him on.

On the other hand, the grouping further complained of lack of enough space for the Muslim community to conduct their religious meetings, as is opposed to other faiths whom they say have vast land, despite them being in minority.

They, however, denied a conclusion that their hostile reception towards government office is in part a popularity contest between Christians and Muslims in the district, saying it was more painful to them as Mangochi citizens to just sit and watch as other people unlawfully grab land for their personal gains.

“You should understand that in Mangochi we value our religion very much and it is unfortunate that we don’t have our own place for prayers just like our Christian friends.

“We do not even know how these churches acquired the land when our fathers were being denied the chance to own land for our religion. But this does not mean that we are against Christians in the district,” he said.

In a separate interview Mangochi District Commissioner, Jack Nguluwe, confirmed to have met the grouping regarding the confiscated offices. He, however, could not explain allegations that government offices, which were being used as store rooms for the district council, were rented out by individuals without his knowledge.

“We have been meeting the concerned community members and the current stand is that we have exhausted all dialogue channels and the people seem to be strictly bent of repossessing the land. However, I am still consulting my colleagues from the Town Council and we will see how the issue will be resolved,” said Nguluwe.

Mangochi Police Public Relations Officer Roderick Maida said he heard the story from the grapevine but indicated that there was nothing the law enforcers could do considering that there is currently no complaint on the issue.

“However land issues are solved by the District Commissioner and if they failed to be resolved there, parties are advised to seek court’s intervention. So at this moment you cannot say we are promoting lawlessness because the issue is under other people’s jurisdiction,” said Maida.

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