Despite government’s move to abolish chiefdoms in urban areas in line with provisions of the Local Government Act and Chiefs’ Act, governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) still recognises traditional leaders in the said areas.
The chiefs are embraced in the party’s development rallies and are given a platform to speak on behalf of their subjects.
During a rally at Msongwe Clinic in Mzuzu on Tuesday, legislator for Mzuzu City Constituency, Leonard Njikho, acknowledged the presence of the “chief of the area” Village Head Paul Mafuta-Kaunda who was given a chance to speak soon after a senior block leader had addressed the gathering.
The chiefs were also given seats close to DPP functionaries while the block leaders sat on a bare ground close to DPP cadets.
All the DPP officials, including the MP and regional governor Kenneth Sanga, who spoke at the meeting recognised the chiefs.
Njikho said the situation in Msongwe was unique as in other areas block leaders and chiefs fight all the time, which affects development.
Asked about involvement of the chiefs, Njikho said it was just a matter of respect that the DPP officials recognised the chiefs. He said despite that the chiefs have been barred, they still need to be honoured.
Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire condemned recognition of chiefs, saying chiefs have no authority in the city under the law.