Chief's Act (Chapter 22:03)

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This is the latest version of this legislation commenced on 31 Dec 2014.

Malawi

Chief's Act

Chapter 22:03

  • Assented to on 21 December 1967
  • Commenced on 29 December 1967

  • [Up to date as at 31 December 2014]
  • [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fourth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2015), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]


An Act to make provision for the recognition, appointment and functions of Paramount Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, Chiefs, Sub-Chiefs, Councillors, Group Village Headmen and Village Headmen; and for certain aspects of District Administration and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith


Part I – Preliminary

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as the Chief’s Act.

2. Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—Chief” means a person holding or acting in the office of Chief under this Act;Chief’s Council” means a Council appointed under section 13;Chief’s Messenger” means a Messenger appointed under section 18;District Commissioner” in relation to a Chief or Messenger means the District Commissioner of the District in which such Chief or Messenger holds office;Group Village Headman” means a person appointed to be a Group Village Headman under section 9 and holding office as such;Section” means a portion of a District assigned or declared to be the area of jurisdiction of a Chief under this Act;Sub-Chief” means a person holding or acting in the office of Sub-­Chief under this Act;village” means a collection of adjacent huts in which reside at least 30 male Malawians aged 18 years or over;Village Headman” means a person appointed to be a Village Headman under section 9.

Part II – Chiefs

3. Offices of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief and Sub-Chief and areas of their jurisdiction

(1)There are hereby established the several offices of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief and Sub-Chief set out in the second, third and fourth columns respectively of the Schedule.
(2)The areas of jurisdiction of the several offices of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief and Sub-Chief shall be the Districts, Sections of Districts and Sub-Sections of Districts specified in the first column of the Schedule opposite each such office.
(3)The President may from time to time by Order declare or alter the boundaries of Sections and Sub-Sections and may create new offices of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief or Chief and assign to such offices such area of jurisdiction as he shall think proper and may, for those purposes, by such Order, amend the Schedule.
(4)The certificate in writing of a District Commissioner of the situation of the boundary of any Section or Sub-Section in his District shall unless such certificate is inconsistent with an order made under subsection (3) be conclusive evidence for all purposes of the situation of such boundary.
(5)No Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief shall exercise jurisdiction within the area of a City, Municipality or Township except with the written approval of the appropriate Council established under the Local Government (Urban Areas) Act.[Cap. 22:01][39 of 1981][5 of 1999]

4. Appointments to the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief and Chief

(1)The President may by writing under his hand appoint to the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief or Chief such person as he shall recognize as being entitled to such office.
(2)No person shall be recognized under this section unless the President is satisfied that such person—(a)is entitled to hold office under customary law;(b)has the support of the majority of the people in the area of jurisdiction of the office in question; and(c)in the case of the office of Senior Chief, is a chief and is recognized by all chiefs in his district as being entitled under customary law prevailing in that district to be appointed Senior Chief.
(3)The appointment of any person to the office of Senior Chief under subsection (1) shall not affect the status of the substantive office of Chief or in any way confer on that person additional jurisdiction to the jurisdiction which he had before being appointed Senior Chief.[5 of 1999]

5. Appointment of Sub-Chiefs

At the request of a Chief the President may, by writing under his hand appoint any person to the office of Sub-Chief and may in such appointment or subsequently specify the boundaries of the area of jurisdiction of such Sub-Chief and may from time to time alter such boundaries.

6. Functions of Paramount Chief

The functions of the office of Paramount Chief shall be such as the President may specify in the appointment of the holder of such office or subsequently by writing under his hand.

7. Functions of Chief

Subject to such authority as may have been conferred on a Paramount Chief under section 6 the functions of a Chief shall be—(a)to preserve the public peace;(b)to carry out the traditional functions of his office under customary law in so far as the discharge of such functions is not contrary to the Constitution or any written law and is not repugnant to natural justice or morality;(c)to assist in the collection of tax;(d)to assist in the general administration of the District in which his area of jurisdiction is situate and for such purpose to carry out such functions as the District Commissioner may require; and(e)for any of the purposes mentioned in paragraphs (a), (c) and (d) to carry out and enforce any lawful directions of the District Commissioner.

8. Functions of Sub-Chief

(1)The functions of a Sub-Chief shall be such of the functions of the Chief to whom he is subordinate as shall be delegated to him by such Chief and so far as the traditional functions of the office of Chief are so delegated shall not extend to any function which under customary law may not be exercised by a person other than a Chief.
(2)In carrying out such functions the Sub-Chief shall act in accordance with the general or special directions of the Chief to whom he is subordinate.

9. Appointment and functions of Group Village Headman and Village Headmen

(1)A Chief may appoint such number of Group Village Headmen and Village Headmen as he may consider necessary to assist him in carrying out his functions.
(2)The functions of a Group Village Headman and a Village Headman shall be to assist the Chief or Sub-Chief by whom he is appointed in the performance of his functions and to bring to the notice of that Chief or Sub-Chief any matter in his village or group of villages which is relevant to such functions.
(3)The remuneration, if any, to be paid to a Group Village Headman or Village Headman shall be such sum as may be approved by the District Commissioner of the District in which the village or group of villages is situated.

10. Acting appointments

(1)If the President considers that through age, infirmity or any other reason the holder of an office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief is unable to fulfil the functions of his office satisfactorily he may appoint such other person to act in that office as he may think fit and the person so appointed shall carry out all the functions of the office accordingly.
(2)During the period of such acting appointment the substantive holder of the office shall not carry out any of the functions of the office.[5 of 1999]

11. Removal and suspension of persons holding the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief and Sub-Chief

(1)The President may by writing under his hand remove any person from the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief if after due inquiry he is satisfied that—(a)the person has ceased to be entitled under customary law to hold such office;(b)the person has lost the confidence of the majority of the people residing in his area; or(c)such removal is necessary in the interests of peace, order and good government.
(2)Where the President deems it expedient to cause inquiry to be made into the question of the removal of any person from the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief, he may by writing under his hand suspend such person from the performance of the functions of his office.[5 of 1999]

12. Inquiries

The President may appoint persons to inquire into any question relating to the appointment to or removal from the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief of any person and to report and make recommendations thereon to the President.[5 of 1999]

13. Appointment of Chief’s Council

(1)Where the President has removed a person from the office of Chief and is of the opinion that no other person is suitable for appointment to such office, he may appoint, by writing under his hand, a Chief’s Council to perform the functions of such office.
(2)A Chief’s Council shall consist of a Chairman and three or more members all of whom shall be appointed by name. The President may, from time to time, terminate the appointment of any Chairman or member of a Council and appoint another person in place of the person whose appointment is terminated or in addition to the existing members of the Council.
(3)A Chief’s Council shall perform all the functions of the office of Chief until a person is appointed to hold such office under section 4.

14. Appointment of advisers by Paramount Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, Chiefs and Sub-Chiefs

A Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief and Sub-Chief may, in accordance with customary law, appoint advisers to advise him in the exercise of his functions. Such advisers shall be known as Counsellors and shall serve in an honorary capacity and shall not be entitled to any remuneration.[5 of 1999]

15. Exclusion of former Paramount Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, Chiefs or Sub-Chiefs from specified area

(1)Where any Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief has been removed from office and the President is satisfied that the presence of such person in any area would be prejudicial to the maintenance of public order in that area, the President may, by notice under his hand, prohibit such person from being within any area specified in the notice, except in such circumstances and on such conditions, if any, as may be specified in the notice.
(2)A notice under this section shall be served personally on the person to whom it relates or, if he cannot be found, shall be published in the Gazette.
(3)Any person who contravenes the provisions of a notice served or published under this section shall, for every such contravention, be liable to imprisonment for six months.[5 of 1999]

16. Emoluments and pensions of Chiefs

(1)There shall be paid to every Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief, Sub-Chief and Chairman of a Chief’s Council for the purpose of enabling him to maintain the status and to carry out the functions of his office in a fit and proper manner such remuneration as the President may from time to time determine.
(2)There may be paid to any Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief who may voluntarily have retired or who may have been removed from office, such pension as the President may determine.[5 of 1999]

Part III – Chiefs’ staff

17. Interpretation

In this Part and in Part IV the word "Chief" shall be deemed to include a Paramount Chief, a Senior Chief, a Chief’s Council and a Sub-Chief.[5 of 1999]

18. Tax clerks and messengers

(1)There shall be appointed to serve every Chief in the discharge of the functions of his office, a tax clerk and such number of chief’s messengers as the District Commissioner may determine.
(2)Power to appoint, suspend or remove any person to or from the office of tax clerk or chief’s messenger and to exercise disciplinary control over the person holding any such office shall be vested in the District Commissioner of the district in which such person holds office.

19. Functions of tax clerk

The functions of a tax clerk shall be to assist the Chief whom he is appointed to serve in the discharge of the functions of his office and to carry out such duties in relation to the collection of tax and other administrative matters as a District Commissioner may direct.

20. Functions and duties of Chief’s Messenger

(1)A Chief’s Messenger shall assist the Chief whom he is appointed to serve in the performance of the functions of his office.
(2)For the purposes specified in subsection (1) every Chief’s Messenger shall have and may exercise all powers, rights, duties and protection for the time being conferred or imposed upon or afforded to police officers under the rank of Inspector by any written law. Where in connexion with any such power, right, duty or protection reference is made in any written law to the superior officer of a police officer, such reference shall be construed in relation to a Chief’s Messenger as being a reference to the Chief to whom such messenger is attached or to the District Commissioner.
(3)In addition to any other duties imposed upon him by this Act or any other law, a Chief’s Messenger shall—(a)obey and execute promptly all orders, duties or instructions issued to or imposed upon him by a Chief or District Commissioner;(b)report to the Chief to whom he is attached all matters which may directly or indirectly come to his knowledge affecting the general public interest of Malawi;(c)at all times do, subject to the general or specific directions of a Chief or District Commissioner, all such things as are lawful and which it is necessary for him to do for the better administration of the area or to preserve the public peace and prevent the commission of an offence; and(d)undergo such training as may be ordered by the District Commissioner.

Part IV – Preservation of public peace

21. Preservation of public peace

(1)Whenever a riot, affray or similar disorder occurs in any District, a Chief’s Messenger, on the directions of the District Commissioner or of the Chief whom he is appointed to serve, may, when in uniform—(a)require any male person in the vicinity to assist him in quelling the riot, affray or disorder;(b)arrest, without warrant, any person upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed an offence in connexion with the riot, affray or disorder and detain any person so arrested until he can be delivered into the custody of a police officer or brought before a court of competent jurisdiction to be dealt with according to law.
(2)Any person required under subsection (1) (d) to assist a messenger who, without reasonable excuse, refuses or fails to do so, shall be liable to a fine of £25 and to imprisonment for three months.

Part V – General

22. Offences and penalties

Any person who—(a)not being the holder of an office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief holds himself out to be such or purports to discharge any of the functions of the office of Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief;(b)conspires against or in any manner attempts to undermine the lawful power or authority of a Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief, Sub-Chief or Chief’s Council;(c)obstructs or interferes with the lawful discharge by a Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief, Sub-Chief or Chief’s Council of any of the functions of his office; or(d)wilfully disobeys any lawful instruction or direction, whether written or verbal, of a Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief, Sub-Chief or Chief’s Council, shall be liable—(i)for a contravention of paragraph (a) or (6), to a fine of £100 and to imprisonment for one year;(ii)for a contravention of paragraph (c) or (d) to a fine of £25 and to imprisonment for three months.[5 of 1999]

23. Arrest without warrant

Whenever any person is reasonably suspected of an offence against section 15, he may be arrested without warrant by a District Messenger or Chief’s Messenger, and may be detained until he can be delivered into the custody of a police officer or brought before a court of competent jurisdiction to be dealt with according to law.

24. Emoluments and conditions of service of tax clerks and Chief’s Messengers

(1)The emoluments and conditions of service of tax clerks and Chief’s Messengers shall be such as may be prescribed by the Minister.
(2)The Minister may from time to time make rules prescribing the emoluments and the terms and conditions of service of tax clerks and Chief’s Messengers.

25. Unusual expenses of Paramount Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, Chiefs and Sub-Chiefs

A District Commissioner may, by way of allowance, reimburse to a Paramount Chief, Senior Chief, Chief, Sub-Chief or Chairman of a Chief’s Council any expenses incurred in the exercise of his functions under this Act which in the opinion of the District Commissioner were properly incurred and are in excess of the provision made in the amount of the emoluments of the holder of the office concerned.[5 of 1999]

26. Payments under this Act

All emoluments and allowances for expenses payable under this Act shall be paid out of moneys provided by Parliament for the purpose.

27. Saving

(1)A person who, immediately before the commencement of this Act, was recognized as a Paramount Chief, Chief or Sub-Chief under the Native Authority Ordinance 1955 (now repealed) shall be deemed to have been appointed to the corresponding office under this Act.
(2)A reference in any written law to a Native Authority or a Native Authority area shall be construed as a reference to the corresponding office of Chief or the area of jurisdiction of the corresponding office of Chief established by this Act.
(3)The boundaries assigned to a Section or Sub-Section prior to the coming into operation of this Act shall, until altered under this Act, continue to be the boundaries of the corresponding Section or Sub-Section established by this Act.[13 of 1999]


Schedule


Areas Paramount Chiefs Chiefs Sub-Chiefs
Southern Region
Nsanje District      
Section 1   Mlolo  
Section 2   Tengani  
Sub-Section 2A     Mbenje
Section 3   Chimombo  
Sub-Section 3A     Makoko
Section 4   Ndamera  
Section 5   Nyachikadza  
Section 6   Malemia  
Section 7   Ngabu  
Chikhwawa District Lundu    
Section 1   Nganu  
Sub-Section 1A     Masache
Section 2   Chapananga  
Sub-Section 2A     Ndakwera
Section 3   Makwira  
Section 4     Kasisi
Section 5     Katunga
Section 6     Masseah
Section 7     Ngowe
Thyolo District      
Section 1 Nsabwe    
Sub-Section 1A     Thukuta
Sub-Section 1B     Mbawela
Section 2   Changata  
Sub-Section 2B     Kwetemule
Section 3   Kapichi  
Section 4   Nchilamwela  
Section 5   Chimaliro  
Sub-Section 5A     Nanseta
Section 6   Bvumbwe  
Section 7   Thomas  
Section 8   Mphuka  
Mulanje District      
Section 1 Mabuka    
Sub-Section 1A     Laston Njema
Section 2   Chikumbu  
Section 3   Nthitamanja  
Sub-Section 3A     Juma
Section 4   Mkanda  
Section 5   Nkhumba  
Section 6   Nazombe  
Blantyre District      
Section 1   Lundu  
Section 2   Chigaru  
Section 3   Kunthembwe  
Section 4   Makata  
Section 5   Kapeni  
Section 6   Kuntaja  
Section 7   Machinjiri  
Section 8   Somba  
Chiradzulu District      
Section 1   Mpama  
Section 2   Nkalo  
Section 3   Kadewere  
Section 4   Nchemba  
Section 5   Chitera  
Section 6   Likoswe  
Zomba District      
Section 1   Kumtumanji  
Section 2   Mwambo  
Section 3   Chikowi  
Sub-Section 3A     Mbiza
Sub-Section 3B     Ntholowa
Sub-Section 3C     Ngwelero
Section 4   Mlumbe  
Section 5   Malemia  
Section 6   Mkumbira  
Machinga District      
Section 1   Liwonde  
Sub-Section 1A   Sitola  
Section 2   Kawinga  
Sub-Section 2A     Mlomba
Sub-Section 2B     Chikwewo
Sub-Section 2C     Chiwalo
Sub-Section 2D     Ngokwe
Sub-Section 2E     Nkoola
Sub-Section 2F     Chamba
Section 3   Msamala  
Section 4   Kalembo  
Section 5   Nyambi  
Section 6   Mposa  
Mangochi District      
Section 1   Mponda  
Section 2   Nankumba  
Section 3   Jalasi  
Sub-Section 3A     Chowe
Sub-Section 3B     Mbwana Nyambi
Section 4   Katuli  
Section 5   Makanjila  
Sub-Section 5A     Namavi
Section 6   Chimwala  
Mwanza District      
Section 1   Dambe  
Section 2   Nthache  
Section 3   Simon Likongwe  
Section 4   Kanduku  
Section 5   Mlauli  
Section 6   Ngozi  
Neno District      
Section 4   Cheku Cheku  
       
Central Region      
Lilongwe District      
Section 1   Khongoni  
Sub-Section 1A     Mtema
Section 2   Chitukula  
Section 3   Chimutu  
Section 4   Mazengera  
Sub-Section 4A     Chitekwere
Section 5   Kalumbu  
Sub-Section 5A     Tsabango
Section 6   Chadza-Mkwenda  
Section 7   Chiseka  
Section 8   Kalumba  
Sub-Section 8A     Njewa
Section 9   Kalolo  
Section 10   Kabudula  
Section 11   Malili  
Mchinji District      
Section 1   Mkanda  
Section 2   Zulu  
Sub-Section 2A     Mduwa
Section 3   Mlonyeni  
Sub-Section 3A     Mavwere
Section 4   Dambe  
Dedza District      
Section 1   Kachere  
Sub-Section 1A     Chilikumwendo
Section 2   Kaphuka  
Section 3   Tambala  
Sub-Section 3A     Chauma
Section 4   Kasumbu  
Section 5   Kachindamoto  
Sub-Section 5A     Kamenya Gwaza
Dowa District      
Section 1   Dzoole  
Sub-Section 1A     Kayembe
Sub-Section 1     Chakaza
Section 2   Msakambewa  
Sub-Section 2A     Mponela
Section 3   Chiwere  
Sub-Section 3A     Mkukula
Salima District      
Section 1   Khombedza  
Sub-Section 1A     Mwanza
Section 2   Kuluunda  
Sub-Section 2A     Msosa
Section 3   Maganga  
Section 4   Karonga  
Section 5   Pemba  
Sub-Section 5A     Kambwiri
Section 6   Ndindi  
Sub-Section 6A      
Ntcheu District Gomani    
Section 1   Kwataine  
Section 2   Mambeya  
Section 3   Njolomole  
Section 4   Phambala  
Section 5   Mpando  
Section 6   Masasa  
Section 7   N’ganya  
Section 8   Makwangwala  
Section 9   Champiti  
Kasungu District      
Section 1   Kaluluma  
Sub-Section 1A     Simlemba
Sub-Section 1B     Maaanyanja
Sub-Section 1C     Chisikwa
Section 2   Mwase  
Sub-Section 2A     Kawamba
Sub-Section 2B     Chilowa Matambe
Sub-Section 2C     Njombwa
Section 3   Chulu  
Section 4   Santhe  
Section 5   Santhe Wimbe  
Section 6   Kapelula  
Nkhotakota District      
Section 1   Kanyenda  
Sub-section 1A     Kafuzila
Section 2   Malenga-Chanzi  
Sub-section 2A     Mponde
Section 3   Mwadzama  
Sub-section 3A     Mwansambo
Ntchisi District      
Section 1   Kasakula  
Section 2   Chikho  
Section 3   Kalumo  
Sub-section 3A     Nthondo
Sub-section 3B   Chilooko  
Northern Region      
Karonga District      
Section 1   Kyungu  
Sub-Section 1A     Karonga
Section 2   Mwafulirwa  
Sub-Section 2A     Mwirang’ombe
Section 3   Kilupula  
Sub-Section 3A     Mwakaboko
Chitipa District      
Section 1   Mwenemisuku  
Section 2   Kameme  
Section 3   Mwenewenya  
Section 4   Nthalire  
Section 5   Mwaulambya  
Rumphi District      
Section 1   Chikulamayembe  
Sub-Section 1A     Mwahenga
Sub-Section 1B     Mwalweni
Sub-Section 1C     Mwankunikila
Sub-Section 1D     Chapinduka
Sub-Section 1E     Kachulu
Section 2   Katumbi  
Sub-Section 2A     Zolokere
Section 3   Mwamlowe  
Mzimba District M’mbelwa    
Section 1   Mtwalo  
Sub-Section 1A     Sibande
Sub-Section 1B     Munthali
Section 2   Chindi  
Section 3   Mzikubola  
Section 4   Mabulabo  
Sub-Section 4A     Khosolo Jere
Section 5   Mpherembe  
Section 6   Mzukuzuku  
Nkhata Bay District      
Section 1   Musisya  
Sub-Section 1A     Mkondowe
Sub-Section 1B     Nyaluwanga
Section 2   Boghoyo  
Section 3   Mankhambira  
Sub-Section 3A     Mkumbira
Sub-Section 3B     Fukamalaza
Section 4   Kabunduli  
Section 5   Mkumpha  
Section 6   Timbiri  
Section 7   Fukamapiri  
Section 8   Malenga-Mzoma  
Section 9   Zilakoma  
Section 10   Malanda