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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Chiefs should stay out of politics

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Traditional leaders, due to the motherly and fatherly role they play in the country, are better off when not associated with political parties.

More so because, like the government, chieftainship is a going concern— which means, while political leadership changes, chiefs do not sail with the winds of party politics and continue to play their rightful role in national development.

Additionally, chiefs are supposed to be neutral because they serve subjects who belong to a number of political parties. For this reason, a traditional leader who respects themselves and subjects stay out of partisan politics because politics taints good intentions.

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But, somehow, whether by design or accident, some traditional leaders in the country seem to miss the boat of sanity as they, from time to time, make a foray into partisan politics. A case in point is the Mchinji District chief who has decided to taint his good name by making questionable political pronouncements.

This state of affairs started with the first party to rule Malawi after 1994, which used the Chiefs Council for political purposes. Just in the nick of time, chiefs, hither to respected, started speaking in political tunes.

Over the years, this practice has continued. Just two weeks ago, one of the well-known chiefs in the Southern Region summoned ruling party officials to a meeting aimed at reconciling their political interests.

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Other chiefs have, countless times, fallen into the same trap in various parts of the country. The problem is that the chiefs confuse the mantra of serving the government of the day with active participation in politics.

Needless to say these practices are counter-productive and may bring all sorts of problems as Malawians prepare for the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections. We know, very well, that some chiefs draw lines in their areas, making them no-go zones for other political aspirants. Such behaviour starts with actions such as endorsement of political parties by chiefs who should, otherwise, be neutral.

Let chiefs concentrate on the development of their areas, other than taking political sides, a pre-requisite for the growth of our nascent democracy.

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