Clash over chieftaincy in Mchinji

Despite persistent calls from government, including President Joyce Banda, to royal families to formulate transparent and proper succession chieftaincy plans, Malawi continues witnessing increased number of wrangles over the same.

A recent incident has occurred in the boarder district of Mchinji where two camps have emerged fighting for the Zulu chieftaincy.

Reports say Traditional Authority (TA) Zulu died in 2010 and according to their Ngoni culture his son was supposed to take over the mantle.

Due to his tender age (six years then), however, elders felt he was too young to immediately sit on the royal throne and agreed to appoint his uncle as caretaker.

Chiefs

Chiefs

But two years down the line two camps have emerged from the royal family with one wanting the little prince (now eight years) to immediately be ordained as TA Zulu while the other is advocating for the coronation of the acting chief.

A member of the rightful heir, Rudolf Mjema argues that as per their tradition, it is clear that a son becomes an automatic heir and there is no need to give the mantle to his uncle.

“Our Ngoni culture is very clear on who becomes the inheritor… It is a son to the fallen chief and in this case, regardless of his age, he has to be installed.

“I urge government to immediately intervene and start the process to have the rightful successor be installed. This will ensure that the chieftaincy does not disappear from the lawful royal family due to the ongoing wrangles,” said Njema.

Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Spokesperson Maganizo Mazeze concurred with Mjema saying there was no reason to give the throne to another person on the basis that the rightful heir is young.

He, however, urged the two factions to discuss the matter harmoniously to avoid the continuing wrangles which may impact negatively on the development projects in the area.

The other factions insist that the son is still young and cannot be crowned as such the caretaker must be installed because the area is suffering in various aspects with him holding the acting position.

Last year, President Joyce Banda installed a 16-year-old school boy as Paramount Chief Gomani IV of Ntcheu district following the death of his father Kanjedza Alexander Gomani who died in 2009 just after about a year since his coronation.

And during a recent installation of Samson Naoza as Group Village Headman Chiwalo V of Monkey Bay in Mangochi, the increased cases of chieftaincy wrangles pricked government into requesting royal families to set down proper plans of chieftaincy succession as a preventive measure.

Minister of Finance, Ralph Jooma, observed during the installation ceremony that with the lucrative incentives government was providing to chiefs there was a spate of chieftaincy wrangles in many royal families which he said could stop once proper successful plans are devise within the families.

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