NICE boss calls for reforms in Malawi Chiefs Act

National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju has called for reforms in the Chiefs Act saying the Act, in its present form does not support the growth of democracy.

Chiefs marching  to present a petition

Chiefs marching to present a petition

Mwalubunju made the call following a petition by chiefs which demanded government should take stern action against striking public servants by dismissing them without pay if they did not end their strike and return to work.

“Among several anomalies, the Act (in Sections 3, 4, 10 and 16) gives the president powers to appoint, promote or remove chiefs or increase or decrease the area of a chief’s jurisdiction. It also gives the president discretionary powers to determine the chiefs’ remuneration,” Mwalubunju observed.

As a result of those provisions, he said, the survival of chieftaincies is dependent on the goodwill of sitting presidents, resulting in chiefs acting in a manner that shows loyalty to the president and, often the president’s political party.

“We have some chiefs in Malawi who often act like ruling party functionaries largely due to weaknesses within the Chiefs Act which was enacted at the peak of single-party dictatorship in 1967 and was clearly designed to sustain dictatorship by containing provisions that compel chiefs to have personal loyalty to the president,” he added.

The Nice boss said with due respect, chiefs are not experts in labour matters and therefore cannot be the ones to prescribe a solution to a labour dispute. The best chief would have done was to encourage both sides to use dialogue in order to end the impulse, perhaps even offering themselves to assist in the mediation without being seen to side with one party against the other.

He said the main reason chiefs “poke their noses in matters that dot concern them” was the weakness of the Chiefs Act.

“That is what leads to our chiefs, some of  them highly educated and otherwise knowledgeable, taking irrational and dictatorial actions such as demanding that people who are on striker should be dismissed without compensation,” he said.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :

Please share this Article if you like Email This Post Email This Post

More From the World

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Gerald Kanjex
Guest

Mtima place ma chf

KING SOLOMONS PALACE
Guest

I, KING SOLOMON OF THE SOLOMONIC PALACE;BY THE WISDOM GIVEN ME BY GRACE; TOTALLY AGREE WITH NICE.THE ACT MUST BE AMENDED.THE ACT HAS BEEN USED BY ROGUE PRESIDENTS TO DIVIDE AND RULE THE VILLAGERS.I REPEAT,THE ACT WAS MEANT TO STRENGTHEN DICTATORSHIP.TODAY U HEAR- THE PRESIDENT IS TRAVELLED TO PROMOTE CHIEF.2MORO PRESIDENT TO INSTALL CHIEF SO ,SO ,SO .U REMEMBER RECENT POLICE TRAGEDY-9 DIED JUST TO INSTAL CHIEF.CURRENTLY CHIEFS R PARTISAN.LET THIS COME TO AN END SOONEST.THAT WOULD BE NICE .IT IS ONLY ME KING SOLOMON THAT IS NON -PARTISAN.

moto mwikho
Guest

It is logic that no one should be allowed to hold up services or get paid for not working. Civil Society please be real!

Mong'onyolani
Guest

Mr NICE you are right. True, Chief Khyungu is the worst leader I have observed. It seem he is the ring leader of any political mishap to the ruling party. I fear it could take ages to reform the Chiefs Act because its weakneness support the ruling party-but alas with our democracy!

Tan'gatan'ga
Guest
I agree with Nice, Malawian Chieftencies are supposed to be based on cultural values and norms, therefore a Tumbuka President cannot meddle in any Yao Chieftency issues. This is the reason why there are so many chietency squabbles in the country. As correctly said, the present Chief’s Act forces Chiefs to be loyal to the President, and therefore by extension control all cultural groups’ activities. For now, the Lomwe’s are in a way running Ngoni, Yao, and other tribes affairs including NAC funds. The Act must be amended as soon as possible in the interest of democracy, otherwise chieftencies must… Read more »
Alfred Munduwabo
Guest

Just abolish chief tenancy otherwise these are the most corrupt traditional tyrants. They sold their subjects to Arabs for salt , mirrors , guns and other favours.
That’s a brave idea Ollen ,no matter you are a relative to the most corrupt chief Malawi has ever had in the history of Malawi .Malawians should look into this problem seriously , we don’t want greedy people like chiefs in Malawi.

Bwantasa Gomdwe
Guest

Komano inunso mafumu zomalowerera nkhani ya salary mwawonjeza mavuto si anu. Nanunso mupite ku school mukatengeko labour law yokha. Muzingodya zipwete kumudziko.

Bwantasa Gomdwe
Guest
I dont know whether Ollen is speaking strictly on yhe legallity of the Act.The Act should be reviewed on its own merits and not on what has happened. I dont think the drafters of the Act intended to make chiefs royal to their current leader. The process of making laws in parliament is clear and that is why there is votting to the bill. By the way are you a lawyer Ollen. I think what the chiefs had done was just a co incident to the provision on apoointment of the chiefs by the president. For your infirmation before an… Read more »
Pichi
Guest
So you mean Chiefs as Malawians have no right to voice their concerns. We were tired of the strikes at the courts. So if the employer does not have money and the employed cannot negotiate FIRE! and the govt goes on. Ahhh. And whosoever said low salaries or non implinentation of salary hikes is up to to the president akukunamizani. Rules of ecomony are simple you spend what you have basi, if you decide to borrow be ready to face the consequencies. Kumakhala patriotic nthawi zina is good. Lets review ma Acts on their own merit osati kumachita personalize ma… Read more »
Jelbin mk
Guest
Mr pichi issues between an employee n employer is settled by the two of them failure to reach an agreement the labour court intervenes not chiefs as was the case with ur dunderheaded chiefs, by the way being a citizen of a certain country does not warrant u every matter to be settled by you even those you have no no how about. These chiefs have enough disputes to settle at village level not to interfere on other matters that have nothing to do with chieftaincy and do you mean you as a citizen yourself can go to high court… Read more »
Sagwa
Guest

Akulu zikawapota ndichoncho

wpDiscuz

More From Nyasatimes