Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa has said government is struggling to pay honoraria for 21 000 chiefs that were promoted during the People’s Party (PP) rule.
He was speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday in response to a supplementary question by Mchinji North member of Parliament (MP) Rachel Mazombwe Zulu (PP) who wanted to know the fate of the traditional leaders who are now no longer receiving honoraria since the 2014 regime change.
Nankhumwa said the 21 000 traditional leaders included group village heads who were elevated although they did not have a minimum of 10 subordinates under them as the law stipulates.
“This is problematic,” the minister admitted, saying government is currently consulting stakeholders on the way forward on the matter.
Rising on a point of order, Salima South MP Uladi Mussa (PP) queried the apparent politicisation of the matter in the way it was presented in the House.
He argued that the PP government had not promoted the traditional leaders haphazardly, as claimed, but had acted on recommendations from seniors such as traditional authorities (T/As)
Mussa, who is leader of PP in the House and is also acting president of the immediate-past ruling party, scoffed at government’s apparent failure to source a figure as low as K52.5 million per month, since the honorarium is “only K2 500” per chief per month.
But Nankhumwa retorted that he had evidence to the effect that a principal secretary would write some of the promoted traditional leaders directly under the instructions from the then president (Joyce Banda). n