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Malawi government yet to solve Joyce Banda elevated Chiefs’ puzzle

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Malawi government says Treasury is still reluctant to release any honoraria funding for the 20,000 chiefs former president Joyce Banda elevated during her two-year reign due to serious irregularities that characterised their elevation.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, said the chiefs do not qualify and government will only release funds for the traditional leaders who will pass the scrutiny test.

“There is an ongoing process aimed at rectifying Joyce Banda’s anomaly. When that process is complete, those chiefs will be put on the payroll.

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“But that will depend on Treasury’s willingness to release funds for that purpose,” Nankhumwa said.

He said some village heads were elevated to become group village heads without any subordinate village heads as required.

Nankhumwa also said the law clearly stipulates that group village heads’ promotion to sub-traditional authority levels is supposed to be done by traditional authorities with the confirmation of the District Commissioners (DCs).

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“But those steps were skipped, thereby creating confusion and disagreements among chiefs,” he said.

The minister said the DCs were supposed to write the minister who is also supposed to inform the President, a thing which he said did not happen.

“She [Joyce Banda] promoted the chiefs towards the run up to the 2014 Tripartite Elections. It was done to persuade voters,” he said.

However, in an earlier interview, spokesperson for the ministry, Muhlabase Mughogho, said government is failing to implement its earlier plan to probe the chiefs that were elevated during Banda’s two-year regime due to a court case.

Some chiefs, who were promoted at that time, challenged the ministry’s plans to probe them.

Meanwhile, the monthly wage bill for the 29,107 chiefs who receive honoraria from the government was at about K87.6 million in October 2015.

“The monthly honoraria vary from month to month. The October honoraria was K87, 564,499.77,”Mughogho said.

She said the monthly honoraria vary due to continuous revisions.

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