President Peter Mutharika has suspended Senior Chief Bibi Kuluunda of Salima following her subjects’ calls for her removal over alleged corruption.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa confirmed the suspension in an interview yesterday, saying Kuluunda will be formally communicated.
In a letter dated April 27 2016 which The Nation has seen, Mutharika wrote: “I, Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi, pursuant to powers vested in me by Chapter 22: 03 part 2, Section 2 of the Chiefs Act do hereby suspend you, Khadija Habib Saidi from exercising the functions of Senior Chief Bibi Kuluunda of Salima with immediate effect until after the conclusion of the investigations into the alleged misconduct on your part.”
Nankhumwa said in March this year he called for a meeting and heard both parties involved in the matter. He said a three-member panel was later set-up to investigate the matter.
Said the minister: “The panel comprised chiefs Mpama of Chiradzulu, Mlumbe of Zomba and Liwonde of Machinga whose initial findings proved that the chief was in the wrong.
“For example, the chief [allegedly] got K30 million from the Green Belt Initiative [for sharing to the people] and not K15 million which she declared. She does not stay at [her] Kachulu Headquarters, but at her husband’s place.”
Salima district commissioner (DC) Rodney Simwaka said yesterday Kuluunda’s subjects have stayed put at his office and are refusing to leave until their grievances are met.
Leader of the group pushing for the removal of the chief, Muhammad Chingomanje, told our sister newspaper, Nation on Sunday, last month that they were fed up with the chief’s misconduct that included dubious land sales, removal of other chiefs under her jurisdiction and her alleged involvement in politics.
He said they wrote the DC’s office about their concerns, but nothing had happened.
“We have been waiting for a response, but we got none. We are fed up and we decided to camp here as the last resort, until she is removed,” said Chingomanje.