LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa East, Richard Chimwendo Banda, has cautioned that the over zealousness of some traditional leaders has the potential to shrink the operating space for non-government organisations (NGOs) in the country.

In Parliament yesterday, Chimwendo Banda, who also chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Social Welfare and Community Development, demanded to know what the government is doing to mend the relationship between chiefs and NGOs.

In an unsuccessful supplementary question to Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa, the lawmaker cited Paramount Chief Lundu’s recent outbursts, when he took issues with international NGO, Goal Malawi.

“I would like to know what the government is doing on [working on] the relationship between chiefs and NGOs. I have in mind the scenario where the [Paramount] Chief called an international NGO stupid in the presence of the President.

“Chiefs threatening or insulting NGOs is a very big threat to the development of this country. It has the potential to shrink space for the NGOs. What measures is the government putting in place to ensure that there is a good relationship between the Chiefs and NGOs?” Chimwendo Banda said.

But second deputy Speaker of Parliament, Clement Chiwaya, told Chimwendo Banda that his supplementary question was a policy question not related to the construction of markets and upgrading of trading centres questions that Nankhumwa initially responded to.

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