Chiefs in Mzimba have expressed fear over the new Land Bill which they say will reduce powers of Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa in the administration and management of customary land.
The proposed law comes to address fears registered by various interest groups, including chiefs, who forced then president Joyce Banda not to assent to the Bill in 2013.
Mzimba Heritage Association secretary Aupson Thole said, according to their tradition, processes of appeal do not go to the DC as the ultimate authority on land issues.
He said: “The Bill might be applicable in other districts, but not in Mzimba. The Bill says when land disputes are not resolved at T/A [traditional authority] level, they will be referred to the DC. But for us, land issues are referred to the Inkosi ya Makhosi. That is the final stage. We do not go anywhere else. In this case, the Bill is limiting powers of our Paramount Chief.”
Thole made the observation in Mzuzu on Sunday during a stakeholders meeting organised by LandNet Malawi to get views on the proposed law from traditional leaders, members of Parliament (MPs) and other interested parties.
LandNet national coordinator Emmanuel Mlaka said concerns presented by the chiefs are genuine and will be brought to the attention of government for consideration.
Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development spokesperson Charles Vintulla expressed surprise that such concerns are coming out now when the chiefs were consulted on the Bill.