Nice, committee move to bring peace in Karonga
Various speakers during a conflict management and transformation workshop in Karonga last week described the lakeshore district as a very volatile place begging for peace initiatives so that development is not affected.
National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) organised the two- day seminar to build capacity of stakeholders in the promotion of peaceful management of conflicts at district level.
The participants included members of the District Peace Committee (DPC), council officials, Malawi Electoral Commission, chiefs and representatives of faith, youths and business community.
Opening the workshop, Senior Chief Mwilang’ombe said he was happy that government chose Karonga to be one of the three pilot districts where DPCs have been established. He said the district qualifies as it is one of the volatile places in the country. The other pilot districts are Kasungu and Mangochi.
“I agree this place is volatile. Politically, this is Karonga Central
[Constituency]; a place where there are always conflicts during elections period. In other places we have seen conflicts resulting from land disputes and beliefs. Somehow we are happy that the DPC has started well and we thank Nice for its guidance.
“We, community leaders, are sometimes weak. Land disputes are very common during the growing season because some chiefs are corrupt. They are bribed hence they make wrong decisions in resolving differences. Naturally, those not satisfied with the judgments become bitter and the result is what we see in Karonga today,” said Mwilang’ombe, appealing to his fellow chiefs to be honest and reject corruption.
He described the conflicts as peculiar occurrences saying historically, Ngondes have always been known to be peaceful people.
Director of Administration at Karonga District Council James Tembo also acknowledged the volatility of the predominantly Ngonde district. He said there was need to engage the youths in productive occupations because they are prone to being abused by selfish leaders in perpetrating violence.
Speaking earlier, Regional Civic Education Officer for Nice in the northern region Vincent Kalawa said his institution was aware that there are efforts made by government in ensuring peace as indicated by the establishment of the National Peace Architecture and DPCs.
“There are conflicts in our communities due to, among other things, lack of proper demarcation of responsibilities at different levels. It has also been observed that most actors do not understand how they can resolve conflicts when they arise; hence this training session will ensure that we understand the basic fundamentals of engaging one another to manage and resolve conflicts,” said Kalawa.
Karonga district has seen a fair share of bloodshed in recent times. Violent family and political disputes have seen some households being chased from their homes, property burnt to ashes and houses demolished.
The court heard that on January 5, Solomon who was aboard a minibus which from Goliati trading centre in Thyolo to Limbe instructed the driver to stop at a certain grave yard where he loaded into the minibus more than 10 metal galvanised pipes.
State prosecutor from Mikolongwe Police Post Petro Yohane said a well wisher tipped the police about this incident.
“We alerted our friends at Bangwe Police road block to be on the lookout for the minibus and they impounded it and arrested Solomon,” said Yohane.
The suspect was charged with being found in possession of property reasonably suspected to have been stolen, which contravenes section 329 of the penal code.
The convict pleaded guilty to the charge and asked for leniency.
Senior Resident Magistrate Mangawa Makhalira handed Solomon the jail sentence.
Solomon hails from Mangazi village in Traditional Authority Chimaliro in Thyolo.
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