A civil rights campaigner has said traditional leaders are responsible for legitimising bad governance in Malawi.
Moses Mkandawire, who is Livingstonia SynodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Church and Society Programme director and Civic and Political Space Platform chairperson, said this on Saturday during a conference to launch the 2010 Status of Governance Report in Malawi in the Northern Region in Mzuzu.
He said chiefs also had a role to safeguard intraparty democracy by providing checks and balances.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Chiefs have to support only leaders that emerge from party conventions. In the case of DPP, for example, chiefs have been supporting the partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 2014 torchbearer [Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Peter Mutharika] when his election has not gone through a convention,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Mkandawire said it was wrong for the traditional leaders to endorse candidates who have not gone through a democratic election process, noting that the chiefs could easily mislead the electorate since they have the trust of their subjects.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The chiefs endorse such non-elected leaders without even consulting their subjects and yet they claim that they were asked to do so by their subjects,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, adding that the practice was perpetrated by the culture of respect for elders.
Traditional Authority Mwankhunikira of Rumphi, while agreeing with Mkandawire, said sometimes they are forced into handclapping for politicians because of the difficult situation they find themselves in.
The 2010 Status of Governance Report in Malawi highlights crucial governance developments in 2010 and has already been launched in Central and Southern regions.
Participants at the conference bemoaned absence of women and the youth during the Northern Region conference.