Phalombe Chiefs warned against obtaining cash for citizen identification letters

Phalombe: District Commissioner (DC) for Phalombe, Gossam Mafuta Thursday warned chiefs in the district to stop obtaining money from their subjects in exchange for citizen identification letters they give them to be able to register in the voter registration exercise.

The DC was commenting on recent speculations that the chiefs are demanding payment for an identification letter that they are required to provide to their people who do not have National Identification Cards.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Mafuta said Chiefs are paid honorarium by government for them to assist their people where need arise, so it is not right for them to be asking for additional payments for any services that the government is asking them to render to their people.

“It is a sad development and as Phalombe district council we are advising chiefs that are doing that to stop immediately as this is against regulations and may lead to serious penalties,” the DC said.

Mafuta added that by demanding for such payments the Chiefs are barring some citizens from exercising their right to vote for leaders of their choice in the forthcoming tripartite elections.

Apparently on Monday Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa during a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) whistle stop tour in the district warned that he would dethrone chiefs that would be found demanding payment for the identification letters.

Some reports indicate that most village headmen in the district are collecting cash amounting to K2, 000 from every person who wants to get an identification letter.

Senior Chief Kaduya said some chiefs were indeed abusing their powers by soliciting money from their subjects; however the development is counterproductive.

She said has since issued warnings to her subject chiefs that were allegedly involved in the malpractice.

“I have told all my chiefs clearly that corrupt practices among chiefs are not welcome in my area as such I will make sure that any chief found in the wrong on allegations to do with corruption will be dealt with accordingly,” Kaduya pointed out.

By design Phalombe is expecting to register a total number of 199, 511 prospective voters in the on-going voter registration in all five constituencies of the district.

Phase 5 of the voter registration which is happening in Phalombe, Mulanje, Thyolo, Balaka, Neno and Luchenza began on September 2, 2018 and is expected to end on September 15, 2018.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA