Malawian Chiefs are useless

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Malawian writer and social commentator Stanley Onjezani Kenani has claimed that local chiefs are useless and without them Malawi can still develop.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi24, Kenani said chiefs have lost direction as they have become a tool for the party in government instead of representing people in their respective villages and areas.

“Chiefs have lost direction. They have become a tool for any ruling party to use to weaken our democracy. They claim to speak for the people, when, in fact, they speak for their political masters,” he said.

Stanley Kenani

Kenani: Chiefs have let us down.

He then took the issue to social media where several other people stated their views on the matter and one of them being his fellow local writer, Steve Sharra.

In his comment, Sharra concurred with Kenani saying chiefs are being politically used in this country to fulfil different political leaders’ motives.

“The problem of the chiefs is 100 percent the making of the political elites. We have put the chiefs in that place so they can serve our political interests,” Sharra said.

When asked to give his views on how best chiefs can operate, Kenani who once led Malawi Writers Union as President from 2004 to 2007 said chiefs should be engaged in development activities other than politics as it is the case now.

“Chiefs are supposed to organize their people in taking part in development projects, For example, if a village does not have a school, the chief should organize his people to mould bricks and approach government for iron sheets and cement. That, I think, is enough not politics,” Kenani told Malawi24.

In recent years, Malawian chiefs have been involved in political matters as some have been seen holding press conferences to attack some politicians, particularly members of the opposition.

Not long ago, some chiefs in Balaka district came together where they insulted Member of Parliament for Balaka North constituency, Lucius Banda, who was recently endorsed as a potential presidential candidate for United Democratic Front.

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4 Comments

  1. One reason chiefs are manipulated, is that most o of them are relatively poor. The rely their on very meagre salaries -at most it is about K50,000- , and the goats and cows they unjustly charge their villagers. Now when they are called by government/ruling parties to castigate opposition critical CSOs, they are given say K200,000, driven in comfortable cars which they cannot afford, accommodated and fed in hotels they have never set foot in their live, what do you expect – they get confused so much that they say things the would otherwise not say. What the Chiefs do not know that this is the very reason chiefs will continue being paid peanuts. That is why they say that when you ‘Pay peanuts, you get monkeys’

  2. One reason chiefs are manipulated, is that most o of them are relatively poor. The rely their on very meagre salaries -at most it is about K50,000- , and the goats and cows they unjustly charge their villagers. Now when they are called by government/ruling parties to castigate opposition critical CSOs, they are given say K200,000, driven in comfortable cars which they cannot afford, accommodated and fed in hotels they have never set foot in their live, what do you expect – they get confused so much that they say things the would otherwise not say. What the Chiefs do not know that this is the very reason chiefs will continue being paid peanuts. That is why they say that when you ‘Pay peanuts, you get monkeys’

  3. In fact Malawi can achieve tremendous development without these chieves, can we have a referendum on whether we should do away with chiefs as a country?

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