We have read a lot from those who are against the demarcation of Mzimba District. I believe, to a certain extent, they are missing a point. Yes, they may have their good arguments, but I believe history should be studied to help us improve the present and the future.
I will give the proponents of keeping Mzimba intact one good example of unity in diversity. Let us look at the Chewas of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. They have one Paramount Chief called Gawa Undi. He is based in Zambia and all the Chewas pay homage to him. Therefore, to suggest that if Mzimba is demarcated then we the Ngonis of Mzimba will stop paying homage to our Inkosi Ya Makosi M’mbelwa is a big joke!
It is not possible that demarcating the district can have only disadvantages as others claim.
Allow me to look at the advantages of demarcating the district. I will begin with the issue of provision of employment. If we demarcate the district into four smaller districts for instance; we shall create four district commissioner positions and four deputy district commissioners. With time, we will have four district police headquarters; four district education managers; four district hospitals and their deputies, and so on. The people manning these positions will not only be from Mzimba, but from Malawi as a whole. Further to this, the management of our district affairs— education, health and internal security will be simplified.
As one can see, many Malawians will have a chance to be employed as a result of such a simple exercise. Let us take the example of chiefs in Mzimba District.
In the past, we only had seven chiefs. These were Inkosi Ya Makosi M’mbelwa, Inkosi Mtwalo, Inkosi Mpherembe, Inkosi Chindi, Inkosi Mabulabo, Inkosi Mzukuzuku and Inkosi Mzikubola. We had two sub-chiefs and these were Kampingo Sibande and Jalavikuba Munthali. Today, the two who were sub-chiefs are now full traditional authorities. If we do not want to change with time and population, why did we accept this change?
Today, there are a number of sub-chiefs who were once mere group village heads. This is what we call growing up. I am not trying to belittle my two Inkosi Kampingo Sibande and Jalavikuba Munthali. I hold them in high esteem but I am only narrating the changes that have taken place over time.
Let me also look at the issue of education. Why have people in the North been crying aloud when it comes to equitable selection of the university? One of the reasons is that the district is too big.
When the policy says, first equitably select 20 people into the university from each district, 20 will come from Mzimba just as 20 will have to come from Likoma, Neno, Phalombe, Machinga and other districts. Thereafter, they will use merit to select the rest. Who stands to lose and who can be blamed?
Let me also look at the distribution of the national development cake. Size and population can be used to distribute the national cake, but the issue of districts also comes into play. After resources are allocated to a district, how many times shall people who sit at the re-distribution of this development cake in district councils look at areas away from their homes? I do not remember when such development last trickled down to Emsizini in Mtwalo area in the district.
Let me challenge those against the demarcation, if they know where Ehlekweni in T/A Mtwalo’s area is found, can they mention one simple development in this area? If Mzimba were a manageable size, those dealing with development would have seen the development challenges in such areas as Ehlekweni, where they just hear of good roads and clean water let alone Admarc markets.
Bearing in mind these factors, I am in support of the demarcation of the district. However, the demarcation should be such that the district and all the districts that will come out of such an exercise shall be under one Inkosi Ya Makosi M’mbelwa. If the Chewas manage to stay under one paramount ruler over such a large territory spread over three countries, what will prevent the Ngonis of Mzimba from doing the same?
Actually, this will give our Inkosi Ya Makosi more power than ruling over only one district. I urge the councillors that are proponents of the demarcation to go ahead and discuss this issue for the benefit of Malawi and not only the people of Mzimba. n