Traditional leaders are asked to tackle conflicts early


Senior Chief Mwenilong’ombe has challenged traditional leaders in Karonga to be proactive in managing conflicts at the local level before they escalate into violence, writes Lusekero Mhango.

The Chief made this call on Wednesday during an interface meeting held by the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) in conjunction with the Karonga District Peace and Unity Committee (DPUC). The meeting included chiefs from Senior Traditional Authorities (STA) Mwenilong’ombe and Wasambo in the district.

He emphasized that traditional leaders, especially chiefs, should not wait for problems to escalate before taking action to mediate. “Do not wait for issues in the communities to accelerate to violence as most of the conflicts which we have here can be prevented if we chiefs take a proactive role and deal with them at the earliest possible stage,” he said.

Mwenilong’ombe further advised traditional leaders to avoid engaging in corrupt practices when handling mediation, noting that corruption contributes to the increase of conflicts among disagreeing parties in the communities.

Limited Kabughe, a representative of Principal Group Village Headman Chimphinga at Wasambo, where statistics from the DPUC indicated a high level of land disputes with 17 registered cases from 2022 to 2024, attributed the increase in land disputes to overpopulation in the area.

“This increase in population has left a shortage of land for the communities to cultivate, which has resulted in land grabbing by others, hence the conflicts,” he explained.

Fumbanani Mwale, Advocacy Officer for EAM in Karonga, highlighted that chiefs are at the center of community issues, whether they involve witchcraft accusations or land disputes. He emphasized the importance of the chiefs’ influence and power at the community level to bring lasting solutions for peace to prevail, hence the engagement.

With financial support from Bread for the World, a Germany-based organization, EAM has implemented a three-year project in Karonga and Mchinji called Churches United for Peace and Justice and Electoral Governance.

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