By Patience Lunda
At least three traditional authorities (T/As) and four senior chiefs have died between January 1 and February 1 this year, giving Ministry of Local Government officials a headache.
The traditional leaders include T/As Njolomole of Ntcheu, Nkula of Machinga, Kamenyagwaza of Dedza and senior chiefs Bibi Kuwulunda of Salima, Mbenje of Nsanje, Kaluluma of Kaungu and Chiwalo of Phalombe.
Ministry of Local Government spokesperson Anjoya Mwanza said it was the first time for the country to lose such a number of chiefs in a space of 32 days.
Most of the deaths are due to the Covid pandemic.
Mwanza said the ministry was engaging members of bereaved royal families to peacefully choose the rightful heirs to the throne.
“The death of traditional leaders is traumatic and a big loss to the communities and the country as a whole. Chiefs are the custodians of culture and communities and they are there to restore peace, order and they also help in development of their areas,” she said.
Reacting to the development, Presidential Adviser on Chiefs Moses Kunkuyu said the President was saddened by the loss.
“We, as a country, are going through a tough time because we are losing a lot of people. Not only have we lost traditional authorities and senior chiefs; we have also lost many village heads [including Nkutu of Dedza District] who are key in running operations in communities,” Kunkuyu said.
According to the ministry, out of the seven, three of the traditional leaders— namely Senior Chief Mbenje and traditional authorities Njolomole and Kamenyagwaza— succumbed to Covid-related illnesses.
However, Senior Chief Kaluluma died due to kidney failure, Traditional Authority Nkula died after a short illness, Senior Chief Chiwalo died due to bilateral prostate hypertrophy and Senior Chief Bibi Kuwulunda due to high blood pressure.
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