Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has vowed to deal with chiefs who claim to own territories in the city, arguing their conduct is affecting development.
Traditional leaders and the council have been at loggerheads ever since the council introduced block leaders.
A full council meeting on Wednesday agreed that the issue of chiefs in the city should be dealt with once and for all to avoid problems in future.
Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire said some chiefs have created problems, thereby paralysing development.
He said some chiefs have gone to the extent of selling land and destroying structures the council is setting up in schools.
Said Mkandawire: “We are facing these problems in various areas. We have a case in Luwinga where school land was sold. In Mchengautuwa, we constructed septic tanks, but because of the power conflict, some chiefs instructed people to refill them with soil. This is a school that has dilapidated toilets. We want to address sanitation problems in our schools but chiefs are sabotaging that.”
He said currently there is an injunction barring chiefs from exercising their powers, but some continue to claim land which they allocate to people. He said the council will engage M’mbelwa District Council (Mzimba) and Nkhata Bay District Council to engage traditional authorities (T/As) whose territories cover Mzuzu City.
Mzuzu City deputy mayor Frazer Chunga said there is need to engage the T/As whose subjects claim to be chiefs so that they warn them against playing chieftaincy roles in the city.
MCC Planning and Development Committee chairperson Dennis Moyo said the issue of urban chiefs has to be dealt with urgency arguing it is derailing development.