To minimise chieftaincy wrangles in Nkhata Bay, traditional leaders in the districts have settled for sons and daughters as rightful heirs to thrones.
To date, families of three traditional authorities (T/As)—Kabunduli, Mankhambira and Boghoyo—have cases pending in court following misunderstandings over who should take over the respective thrones.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, Senior Chief Mkumbira said Nkhata Bay chiefs met and resolved to find a lasting solution to increasing chieftaincy wrangles that have dented the image of the district.
He said: “The chiefs decided to revert to the old system of choosing the rightful heir to a throne and that is appointing a child, whether a son or a daughter, to the departed chief and not a nephew as is the case now.”
The chief said the system of nephews being heirs to a throne was not good because the Tonga culture follows a patrilineal system where sons are more powerful than nephews.
He said: “We pay lobola [dowry] to the wife’s parents and the woman comes to the man’s house… What we used to follow in the past was Chewa tradition where nephews are heirs to thrones.
“But when one dies, the laws of Malawi are clear that children should inherit the wealth of their father and similarly, the throne is wealth. You cannot give chieftaincy to an outsider as the throne is like wealth.”
Mkumbira said the reason Tonga chieftaincies were given to nephews was because “royal families wanted to prevent their children from participating in war”; hence, putting nephews on thrones to lead the army to war.
The Tonga fought with the Ngonis in 1890s and one of the famous battle was fought at Lwana Latonga in Nkhata Bay. n