Some chiefs in the country claim that they have gone nine months without receiving their honoraria, prompting some of them to question Capital Hill’s motives on the matter.
Speaking in an interview on Friday, group village head (GVH) Masawani Makwakwa under Senior Chief Mpherembe in Mzimba confirmed that he and other 51 GVHs in the district have not been paid for the past nine months.
He wondered if government values chiefs, claiming politicians only mind about them when elections are approaching.
Makwakwa claimed they are now being forced to do piece work in people’s farms to find money for their upkeep.
“We are suffering. MPs [members of Parliament] get a lot of money, but government is failing to pay us K5 000,” he said.
Another chief from Mzimba, GVH Kazinga Mkandawire, said they have not been given concrete reasons for not getting their honoraria.
He claimed the district commissioner’s office has not been helpful on the matter which has left them destitute.
“It is only GVHs and village heads that have been affected. The T/As[traditional authorities] and other senior chiefs are getting their money. So, we wonder why us? Our lives have been heavily affected. This money helps a lot in our daily life,” said Mkandawire.
T/A Kachindamoto of Dedza said some chiefs under her jurisdiction were also experiencing similar problems. She said the period ranged from three to four months.
Kachindamoto also claimed that some GVHs are getting honoraria meant for village heads while names of other traditional leaders are missing.
“It is very painful because chiefs walk long distances to access the money. It becomes irritating for someone to walk over 10 kilometres and find that there is no money for them or they have been given [less money]than their grade. The chiefs are being inconvenienced,” she said.
However, T/A Chikumbu of Mulanje said chiefs under her jurisdiction experienced the same the past few months, but the issue was resolved.
Reacting to the chiefs claims, Mzimba district commissioner Thomas Chirwa said the council owed chiefs money for four months only which has been paid to them.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development director of chiefs Lawrence Makonokaya said the ministry issued funds for previous months up to February 2017. He doubted if there could be chiefs that have not received money for nine months.
“Of course we were getting such problems in the past but we rectified them. So it is not true that they have gone for nine months because we have managed to transfer funds for months up to February,” he said.