The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MoLGRD) has reverted 22 chiefs to their original positions they held before their controversial elevation.
The development comes eight months after three committees were instituted to investigate how traditional leaders were promoted in the “past few years”.
MoLGRD spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho said in a written response to a questionnaire that the decision has been undertaken as part of the ministry’s implementation of recommendations made by the three committees.
She said a report from the committee, which comprised senior chiefs, was adopted by relevant authorities and it would be made public in due course.
Said Mughogho: “The committee was only looking at chiefs’ elevations and some of the recommendations made in the report have started being implemented. The public has been informed about the implementation through various media outlets.”
The ministry formed the three committees in August to conduct inquiries into the elevation of chiefs in recent years following complaints from some traditional leaders and family members nationwide that some promotions were carried out without recommended procedures as stipulated in the Chiefs Act Cap 22:03 (5).
The committees comprised three chiefs from each of the country’s three administrative regions. They were Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa V of Mzimba, Senior Chief Mwankhunikira of Rumphi and Senior Chief Kameme of Chitipa from the Northern Region; Inkosi ya Makosi Gomani V of Ntcheu, Senior Chief Mkanda of Mchinji and Senior Chief Kalumbu of Lilongwe in the Central Region.
The Southern Region committee had Paramount Chief Lundu of Chikwawa, Senior Chief Kapeni of Blantyre and Senior Chief Kawinga from Machinga.
In recent years, presidents, notably the late Bingu wa Mutharika and his successor Joyce Banda, promoted traditional leaders, a development that led to the country having several senior chiefs.
Some critics pushed for the review of the Chiefs Act to reduce powers and privileges of heads of State to promote traditional leaders in a bid to make the chiefs apolitical.
During the campaign for the May 20 Tripartite Elections, Banda’s People’s Party (PP)-led administration bragged about promoting 40 000 chiefs.
However, after it was noted that the preliminary budget excluded 20 000 chiefs promoted during the Banda administration, Minister of Local Government Trasizio Gowelo told Parliament in September 2014 during the budget meeting that government had on its payroll 45 357 traditional leaders who would get honorarium in the 2014/15 National Budget and only those appearing in the ministry’s books would get paid.