Malawi Government intends to gazette 40 000 chiefs by 2014 as one way of ensuring that development is championed at grass roots level.
Vice-President Khumbo Kachali was speaking in Lilongwe during development meetings conducted in traditional authorities Chadza, Mazengera, Njewa and Kalolo.
He said government made that decision to enhance development which is initiated by chiefs.
“The President [Joyce Banda] appreciates the role that chiefs play in development. She also appreciates the fact that we are all identified by our villages and traditional authorities. Our records show that we have 60 000 chiefs who are not gazetted.
“It is for this reason that Her Excellency [the President] intends to gazette 20 000 chiefs this year and another 20 000 next year. The process will continue until we have the desired number of chiefs,” said Kachali.
Kachali said through the increased number of chiefs, government will be able to enhance community participation in various development programmes as chiefs better understand the needs of their respective areas.
“Chiefs have been there since time immemorial and have always advanced community participation in development projects. In modern days, chiefs fall under the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC), this implies that the presence of a chief is equal to the presence of the President,” said Kachali.
Speaking at his headquarters, Kalolo thanked government for the initiative.
“The process will motivate chiefs to promote development projects in their areas. Let me assure you that chiefs in my area support government’s development policies,” said Kalolo.