Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, was on Tuesday blocked by angry villagers from installing the Traditional Authority (T/A) Mankhambila in Nkhata Bay District.
Sympathisers of acting T/A, Harry Makwakwata stormed the District Council where they threatened bloodshed if the minister proceeded to elevate Baden Chakwanika to the position.
They accused the government of politicising the chieftaincy which, they argued, does not follow blood lineage but rather a royal family which has majority members.
The Mankhambila chieftaincy has been under dispute for some time, with one of the claimants, Makwakwata, taking the matter to court.
“We will not let anyone interfere in this chieftaincy. There is something fishy going on and that is why the District Commissioner advised the government to hold the elevation at his offices when it is supposed to be in the village,” one of the protesters, Carnwell Muomba, said.
Nankhumwa conceded that proceeding with the installation would have aggravated the situation; hence, the decision to suspend it.
He then bemoaned the rising number of chieftaincy wrangles across the country which, he said, are impacting negatively on development.
Nankhumwa said in areas where chieftaincy disputes have gone to court, development derails since there is a missing link between communities and the district assembly where development plans are drawn and discussed.
“When matters of succession go to court, they take a long time and the vacancy deprives communities of development opportunities. You should be aware that chiefs sit in the council where decisions are made,” Nankhumwa said.
He reiterated that the government, through his ministry, does not intend to meddle in matters of tradition and thus appealed for contact and dialogue whenever differences arise.
“Traditional leaders are appointed by members of the royal family. It is thus imperative that whenever there are disagreements they should be solved within the royal family amicably,” Nankhumwa said.
This comes few days after the family of Judge Kawonga challenged the ministry over the pending installation of Ackim Kawonga as T/A Nthalire in Chitipa.
A vibrant writer who gives a great insight on hot topics and issues