President Banda orders review of Chiefs emoluments

Malawi President Joyce Banda has instituted another committee to review Chief’s perks and privileges saying traditional leaders were instrumental in the development of the country.

“This time is for Chiefs to work and not speak on TV. Chiefs are supposed to be principled and fearless,” Banda said.

Not long ago the DPP government usually paraded Chiefs to comment on many issues from socio-economics to politics despite their apparent lack of knowledge on the subjects.

President Band and First Gentleman in Karonga. Photo by Tusekele Mwanyongo/Nyasa Times

Banda said it was unfair to see some chiefs driving luxury cars while others do not even own a bicycle.

“They should be uniformity in their emoluments and I have decided that the Vice President Khumbo Kachali, the Minster of Local government and other officials should look into that issue as a matter of urgency,” said Banda, who avoid calling the task force a committee.

“The Chiefs Act came into being in 1964. As such, it does not properly address the needs of the people. I am happy to inform you the Chiefs Act is being reviewed to make it relevant to people’s aspirations. We are all stakeholders in this task and have a role to play in making it a reality,”  the President said.

She said this during the official installation ceremony of Paramount Chief Kyungu Nsangalufu Clement Mwakabanga III at Kasoba Primary School ground in Karonga on Saturday.

Ironically, all the people who spoke at the function including the master of ceremony Chimbizga Msimuko did not recognize Senior Chief Karonga in their salutations.

As if that was not enough, Senior Chief Karonga did not seat where all the Chiefs were but was allocated a public seat.

And prior to the ceremony, the main organizing committee turned down Senior chiefs Karonga’s gift of a Cow saying  they saw no reason why Senior chief Karonga should recognize Paramount Kyungu now.

Senior chief Karonga’s Chieftaincy has been riddled with controversy since inception because they were concerns that he was not the legitimate heir to the throne.

But Banda said her government has high regard for ‘wise’ Chiefs saying that is why in recognition of that she appointed Paramount Chief Kyungu into the Presidential Committee on hunger and Poverty eradication.

“If we want to eradicate hunger and poverty then Chiefs have a great role to play” said Banda.

She advised paramount Chief Kyungu to put the interest of his people at heart and bury the past.

“I know that you have been despised for a long time and that you have been through trials and tribulations and I want you to get inspiration from the biblical Solomon who asked God for wisdom and not wealth. Look forward and with God’s help you will triumph,” the Malawi President said.

Village Headwoman Gladys Mwambetania said the Kyungu Chieftaincy traces its origins from Tanzania and dates back to the 1550s.

Mwambetania said Paramount Kyungu was 24th in the Royal hierarchy.

Minister of Local Government Rural development Grace Maseko hailed Paramount Kyungu for his brevity saying he was the first person to publicly acknowledge that Banda was the President of Malawi after Bingu wa Mutharika’s death on April 5, 2012.

President Banda waves the crowds in an open car

President Band and First Gentleman in Karonga. Photo by Tusekele Mwanyongo/Nyasa Times

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