The Law Commission on the Review of the Chiefsâ€™ Act has recommended that Malawiâ€™s President should not be appointing chiefs in order to enhance neutrality.
The commission is seeking views from stakeholders including chiefs, district commissioners, judicial officers and non-governmental organisations [NGOs] nationwide.
On Thursday, the commission held its consultation meeting in Mzuzu on, among others, Section 4 of the Chiefs Act, which gives power to the President to appoint chiefs, something the commission feels allows for political influence.
â€œThe Presidentâ€™s power has eroded independence and proper functioning on the institution of chieftaincy. There have been cases where the appointment of senior chiefs did not follow the requirements provided in Section 4(2) of the Act,â€ says the commissionâ€™s report.
It recommends that traditional authorities within the district should choose among themselves the most senior traditional leader to be Senior Chief.
For traditional authorities and lower cadre of chiefs, the report adds, royal families would be entrusted with the responsibility whereas the Presidentâ€™s role would simply be to recognise the appointments.
The commission also suggested that power to remove chiefs should not be vested in the President, but in traditional leaders, communities or royal families.
The commission also proposes that the Chiefs Act be called Traditional Leaders Act.
â€œTraditional leader as a title is all encompassing. It includes senior chiefs, traditional authorities, village and group village heads,â€ says the report.
The commissionâ€™s vice-chairperson Stuart Ligomeka said it will come up with a final draft of the act after consultations.