The government says it is scrutinising proposals from traditional leaders on the issue of Chiefs’ Council, a forum where traditional leaders will be deliberating on issues of national interest.
Director of Chiefs Administration in the Ministry of Local Government Charles Makanga said in an interview that the proposal will be included in a bill which members of Parliament will deliberate on.
Makanga said the bill was sent to Cabinet for approval but was returned to the ministry for changes, an activity which is in progress.
“There is a proposal we have put in a bill and we are waiting for the government to approve it. It went to Cabinet and came back because there are some issues we are working on and, soon after the process is complete, we will send it to Cabinet again for approval,” Makanga said.
However, Paramount Chief Lundu of Chikwawa said he does not understand why all administrations have been using delay tactics to frustrate chiefs’ proposal which, he said, will facilitate development at the grassroots level.
“We have been asking for this for a long time. We believe that some of the challenges we, as a country, are facing are there because there is no Chiefs’ Council to help in addressing them.
“Why are they delaying the process when some neighbouring countries have chiefs’ councils and things are working? What is the problem here?” Lundu said.
Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga said the council of chiefs is key to national development efforts.
He, however, said the government should first look at its resources before making a final decision on the matter.
Kyungu said chiefs already made their stand on the matter, and that what is remaining is for the government to accept the proposal or discard it.
“If the government feels that the Chiefs’ Council is necessary, let it speed up the process so that the council is established.
“However, if they have no resources, then let the government just introduce a simple platform where chiefs should be meeting,” Kyungu said.
Chiefs currently meet at full council meetings where, together with members of Parliament and ward councillors, they deliberate on development issues.