Chiefs and traditional authorities in Malawi constitute a key component of state power and everyday governance and, therefore, must actively complement government’s efforts in promoting and enhancing democratic governance and the rule of law.
Local Government and Rural Development minister, Kondwani Nankhumwa says as the nation moves closer to the 2019 tripartite elections, chiefs and traditional authorities will be vital in encouraging Malawians to participate in the polls owing to their close proximity with the people.
“Chiefs live with the people; they must be the handiest authorities to encourage Malawians to exercise their birthright to choose their President, legislators and local government representatives.
“The Malawi Electoral Commission is currently undertaking a registration of voters and I implore on our chiefs to help government and other stakeholders in encouraging their subjects not only to register as voters but participate in the actual voting,” said Nankhumwa recently when he officially installed T/A Malemia of Zomba, whose real name is Lloyd Clement, as Senior Chief.
President Peter Mutharika recently promoted T/A Malemia to senior chief and Nankhumwa represented the Head of State to install the senior chief.
The Malamia chieftaincy had been rocked by serious wrangles over succession following the death of the previous chief. While on a campaign trail in the run-up to the 2014 tripartite elections, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate, Mutharika, promised to help the family sort out the wrangles amicably.
Clement was crowned T/A Malemia in 2016 and by virtue of constitutional powers bestowed on President Mutharika, he was promoted to Senior Chief in 2017.
“The President has been assessing your performance as traditional authority particularly in initiating and spearheading developmental projects in your area. You are a very hard working traditional leader. I wish to deliver a message of congratulations from the President. He wishes you well and he has assured me that he will support you in every way,” Nankhumwa told the Senior T/A.
Nankhumwa, who is also parliamentarian for Mulanje Central constituency, governing DPP vice president for the South as well as Leader of Government Business in Parliament, said President Mutharika and his DPP administration are aware that chiefs in the country play a pivotal role in the implementation of development projects, especially at the grassroots.
“For development to happen, government requires the full participation of the people. Chiefs are the first point of contact for government and without chiefs, government would not be able to get down to the people. For a long time, government has relied on the chiefs to mobilize the masses to participate in development projects. We rely on the chiefs to implement important programmes such as the farm input subsidy programme (FISP), among others,” he said.
The minister urged ‘royal families’ to usually find amicable ways of addressing chieftaincy wrangles, instead of rushing to courts. He said chieftaincy wrangles derail development because a lot of valuable time is wasted due to protracted wrangling.
He also warned chiefs against indulging in corruption, especially in the administration of land.
During the ceremony, which was held at Domasi Demonstration School Ground, Nankhumwa also elevated Sub-T/A Ngagula to full traditional authority (TA).
Other high-profile officials who attended the event included Local Government Principal Secretary (PS) Kinswell Dakamawu, Zomba District Commissioner, Emmanuel Banda, DPP deputy publicity secretary and MP for Zomba Thondwe constituency, Charles Thikiwa, Zomba City Mayor, Christopher Jana, aspiring DPP MP for Zomba Malosa, Grace Kwelepeta and Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :