Two traditional authorities (T/As) in Dedza South Constituency, Kasumbu and Kamenyagwaza, have defended the stand taken by group village heads (GVHs) in the area to ask their Member of Parliament (MP) John Tembo to step down.
The chiefs have also urged Tembo not to contest as an MP for the constituency in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The T/As say they would support any position taken by the GVHs since they are the ones who live with the people and understand the needs of the constituents better.
At least 70 GVHs from the two T/As last Tuesday held a meeting in the constituency where they resolved to ask Tembo not to contest in next year’s parliamentary elections for a seat he has held from the 1960s, except for the 13 years he was governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi ..
Said T/A Kasumbu in an interview on Saturday: “As T/As, our role is just to accept whatever is decided because it is [the GVHs] who hold all the powers to make such decisions. They are the ones who live with the people in the villages and know what the people want.”
However, Kasumbu said since politics is dynamic, the T/As will leave it to the people to make a decision through their vote during the parliamentary elections next year.
T/A Kamenyagwaza also said the chiefs are leaving everything in the hands of the GHVs whose decision on the matter represents what people in the area feel about their MP.
The GVHs held their meeting at GVH Kanyama’s headquarters at Makota Primary School where they argued that Tembo has served the constituency long enough and it was time for him to retire and pave the way for a new legislator.
The group village heads also said they will not allow Tembo to anoint anyone to take over from him but that such a decision should be left in the hands of the chiefs in the area to identify an appropriate candidate.
The meeting was attended by 12 GVHs from T/A Kamenyagwaza and about 60 from T/A Kasumbu.
According to sources in the area, chiefs in the constituency are pressurising Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu, who is currently Blantyre City South MP, to abandon his constituency and contest in the area to replace Tembo.
However, in an interview on Sunday, Tembo accused Kunkuyu of mobilising the chiefs in the constituency to rise against him, an allegation which Kunkuyu has dismissed.
Kunkuyu said although Dedza is his home of origin, he has not yet decided to move from Blantyre to face Tembo in Dedza South.
GVH Chinyamula, who was among those that attended the meeting, also said their decision to ask Tembo to stand down was not as a result of pressure from anyone but that the chiefs felt that it is their responsibility to take the constituency in the right direction.