May 18, 2021

Area 50 Block Leader hacked over graveyard disputes

Aaron Machemba, Area 50 Block Leader, is nursing head injuries sustained from an angry mob of Village headman Chimtenga who descended on him due to graveyard disputes over land belonging to Senior Group Village head Ngomani in the area of Traditional Authority Chitukula in Lilongwe.

Ngomani, Ng’oma, Mwachipha, Chimoka and Fumbe villages are some of the oldest villages in Lilongwe and town dwellers have been buying land for construction purposes from them. This resulted to legally Block Leadership being elected in the areas due to urbanization.

Ngomani village lies in the middle of the densely populated Mgona township in Lilongwe City and is under the Ward Councilor, Patrick Makumba with Alfred Jiya as its Member of Parliament for Lilongwe City Central Constituency.

Each time there is a funeral from the area of Block Leader Machemba, people of Chimtenga village have been resistant to have the dead buried in the graveyard belonging to Senior Group Village head Ngomani claiming that the graveyard is for their uncle, Chimtenga.

On 8th January 2021, deaths occurred in the area of Block Leader Machemba, people sought permission from Senior Group Village headman Ngomani to bury the deceased and were granted that permission. The caretakers [Adzukulu] started their work when all of a sudden an angry group of Chimtenga residents ordered them to cease and find their own graveyard.

Block Leader Machemba phoned Councilor Makumba of the area who asked them if it was possible to take the dead body to Area 49 Dubai, for burial and this was done.

Later that afternoon at quarter past 3, the people of Chimtenga had raided Machemba’s home damaging his house, smashing windows, doors, and looting everything in his shop. One of his tenants had his cell phone and cash amounting to K20,000 stolen as pieces of glasses were strewn all over the place.

Block Leader Machemba called the Officer in Charge of Kanengo in person for rescue at half past 3, who assured him that a police vehicle was on the way yet it arrived close to 3 hours later at 1920h. Machemba was picked with his head wrapped in a chitenje, to prevent blood from gushing out, and rushed to Area 25 Health Centre where he was treated as an out–patient.

On the morning of 9th February 2021, he went to Kanengo Police station to record hiss statement and was openly by Police Officers in the Investigation Branch Office [IBO] to await a call at his home after the police have met T/A Chitukula, Mayor of Lilongwe City Council and Councilor for the area, Patrick Makumba. No arrests have been made till this day.

……”I am relieving body pains using  Paracetamol every time, showing four deep cuts on his head, those who ambushed me are sending messages that once one of them is arrested by police, they will come to destroy my house using pestles,’’ lamented Block Leader Machemba.

Meanwhile, communities surrounding Ngomani village are suspecting police officers of playing a hide and seek as they are yet to arresting the offenders. They are also claiming that issues of the alleged offenders are not the first in the area committed by the very same people who hacked Block Leader, Aaron Machemba. People are mobilizing themselves to travel to the National Police Headquarters to report against the conduct of Kanengo police officers for failing to arrest the offenders as a week has gone by after the incident with no arrests made; justice delayed, is justice denied.

By Vincent Gunde

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