Angry concerned citizens of Mgoma village in the area of Senior Chief Msakambewa in Dowa, on Friday morning stormed the District Commissioner’s office demanding the immediate removal of their chief from his throne, accusing him of selling their land.
The citizens allege that Chief Msakambewa is selling their land to business people from other areas to ply their trade, a development which has been irking many communities in the district.
One of the concerned, Mr. Lyford John, said it is sad to note Chief Msakambewa is using his position to grab their land and sell it to the business people leaving them helpless without any piece of land for farming.
John claimed that the communities in the district have been holding demonstrations against the removal of Chief Msakambewa but, this has been paid a deaf ear by the council , saying the development encouraged Chief to do more harm to his subjects in the area over land.
He said the issue of grabbing land started in 2009 – 2013 when the District’s Lands Officer, a Mr. Gondwe was transferred to the capital Hill in Lilongwe and the office messenger, a Mr. Mphasa took advantage conniving with some council officers started selling land in a free for all basis, saying between the stated years public and customary land was sold to the individuals on corruption basis.
…..’’The Dowa District Hospital has no room for expansion, it has leased houses surrounding it, the land belonging to Dowa police station behind O/C’s house was sold and land outside the Dowa boma market where there are shops. Interestingly, all these land were sold illegally and the occupants have leased papers,’’….lamented John.
Chief Msakambewa has faced a number of more demonstrations than any either chief in Dowa district and at one time his subjects delivered a copy of the petition to the DC on their way to the High court in Lilongwe to seek court intervention after the office of the DC had failed to listen to their grievances of removing their chief from throne.
Dowa District Council’s Director of Administration, Boniface Macheka, advised the concerned citizens to go back home and write a letter justifying the reasons for their grievances in demanding their chief out of the throne. Meanwhile, Senior Chief Msakambewa has distanced himself on the matter saying those that are accused of occupying their land were brought by themselves from Nambuma to their claimed area.
In September this year chiefs and communities of Jali in Zomba district protested and presented a petition to Zomba District Commissioner requesting the removal of Group Village Headman Jali of Zomba for corrupt practices, which include allegedly stealing bags of cement meant for the construction of a market shade.