Just as the Malawi Government is using the Heligoland Treaty of 1891 to claim that Tanzania does not own any part of Lake Malawi, the Mzimba Heritage on behalf of the people of Mzimba want to remind the Government of Malawi of the position of Mzimba district within the Republic of Malawi with M’mbelwa as its King (Inkosi ya Makhosi).
When Nyasaland was declared a Protectorate in 1891, Mombera Kingdom was not part of the Protectorate. The Kingdom was administered by M’mbelwa Administrative Council with M’mbelwa as its head.
Some 13 years later when Mombera Kingdom was persuaded by the British Administrators through the Free Church of Scotland to join the Nyasaland Protectorate, the terms were that it was joining as a Development Partner. In that sense, Mzimba was never colonized by the colonial administration like the rest of the districts in Nyasaland.
The colonial government governed Mzimba through Indirect Rule. In 1953, when the colonial administration proposed that Nyasaland should join the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa II went to London and rejected the proposal. In 1960, Mzimba was sidelined for talks at Lancaster House. When Nyasaland became an independent entity in 1964, the 1904 Treaty Agreement was not rescinded or abrogated. Which means that the Treaty is still in force. Mzimba and the Malawi Government are still in a partnership. It is in that historical sense that the new Land Law does not affect Mzimba and its people who are in a partnership with government. His Majesty Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V remains the administrator of his Territorial Jurisdiction. And Mzimba remains a Kingdom within the Republic of Malawi. Government may do well to understand and respect this very important historical aspect in relation to the new Land Law just as it uses the Heligoland Treaty to claim ownership of Lake Malawi bordering with Tanzania. n