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M’mbelwa dethrones Group Village Headman for marrying minor

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ISSUED INSTRUCTIONS—M’mbelwa

Inkosi ya makhosi M’mbelwa V of the Ngoni tribe of Mzimba has fired Group Village Headman (GVH) German Mahowe, 42, for allegedly marrying a 17 year-old girl from Edingeni in the district.

M’mbelwa has instructed the chief’s family to immediately appoint Mahowe’s replacement, arguing that what he has done is a disgrace to the Ngoni chieftaincy and culture.

In an interview Tuesday, M’mbelwa said the decision has been arrived at after wide consultations and hearings.

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He said the chief has violated the right to education for the girl which is contrary to the kingdom‘s ideals.

M’mbelwa, who is also World Vision Ambassador on promotion of education, said the chief started dating the girl while she was 14 years-old and was in Standard Six.

He said he has decided to fire the chief to set a good example and also warn others.

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“What has shocked me is that I gave a responsibility to the chief to be educating the communities on the dangers of early marriages and importance of girl education. I was surprised to hear that the one I trusted with the huge responsibility has married a minor. Therefore, I have instructed him to stop serving people as a chief, because he was supposed to set a good example,” M’mbelwa said.

It has also been noted that the girl was reportedly impregnated, but unfortunately she miscarried.

However, Mahowe denied marrying a minor saying the girl is above 18 arguing he has the birth certificate and nation ID which would support his claim.

“I have only been suspended from acting as a traditional leader. I have not been fired because a chief is not fired willy-nilly,” he said

Meanwhile, one of the child activists, Maxwell Matewere, has since commended the paramount chief for the action but said police should quickly intervene on the matter, saying the chief has committed a crime.

Matewere said the laws are clear that marrying a minor is a crime and also that sleeping with a girl who is less than 18 years is defilement.

“What we are waiting is that the police should take up the case. The paramount chief M’mbelwa has done his part and what is remaining is that police should arrest the chief because he has broken the laws,” Matewere said.

Northern Region Police Deputy Public Relations Officer, Maurice Chapola, said the police will follow up on the matter.

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