A chief in Malawi’s Lower Shire district of Nsanje has been reported to have demanded money from hunger victims in order to allow them to receive humanitarian aid, Malawi24 has learnt.
Residents of Village Headman Andiwelo of Traditional Authority Mlolo in the district have complained that their village head demands K5000 so that they can be registered for humanitarian support programs.
The residents further disclosed that they failed to raise the money to be paid to the chief, a development that has seen them not appearing on the list of beneficiaries.
Meanwhile, authorities in Nsanje have suspended Village headman Andiwelo of the district after he was found guilty of abusing the MVAC food response.
Chief Mlolo said village headman Andiwelo has been suspended for abusing his power as he was found with three ration cards.
The suspension comes barely few weeks after some chiefs in the Lower Shire district of Nsanje were also accused of demanding sex from their subjects in exchange for humanitarian food.
Recently, Link for Citizen Empowerment (The Link), a women’s rights body working in Nsanje and several other districts in the country reported that hungry and poor girls and women in Nsanje District are forced to sleep with some exploitative traditional leaders in exchange for humanitarian food.
But Chief Malemia of Nsanje described the report as silly and aimed at tarnishing the good image of chiefs in the district.
“There is no chief in Nsanje who engages in such malpractices, that is untrue and can never happen,” he said.
He said people should treat traditional leaders with honour and respect instead of sarcasm.
But Link for Citizen Empowerment director Jephter Mwanza, whose organisation carried out the survey, defended the results.
Meanwhile, Senior Chief Malemia is yet to comment following village headman Andiwelo’s suspension.