By Tikondane Vega – Mana.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr Ben Phiri has said for the first in the history of the country, government would introduce a health insurance scheme for all Chiefs in the country in order to reduce expenses it pays to hospitals when a chief is sick or dies.
He said this in Thyolo District on Saturday during the elevation and installation of four Sub Traditional Authorities (STAs) to the position of full Traditional Authority’s (TAs) at a function that took place at Adolorata Primary School Ground.
President Arthur Peter Mutharika promoted STA Ndalama (James Tsabola), STA January (Robson Tapani), STA Mpenda (Malizani Grem) and STA Ngomano (Lackson Thomas) to the position of TAs with effect from January 9, 2020.
The Minister said government was spending a lot of money annually both within and abroad since some local hospitals recommend other sick chiefs to seek medical attention in different international hospitals.
“We are exploring possibilities of health insurance for chiefs in the country but in the meantime the matter is still under discussion and shall wait for approval from relevant authorities. As a pilot phase, we shall start with STAs going up and later expand to lower chiefs,” Phiri disclosed.
He said this was a clear testimony that the current administration values the importance of chiefs and the role they play in complementing government business.
Phiri urged the newly promoted chiefs to be exemplary when discharging their duties and avoid corruption at all cost saying such malpractices have no room in the current administration.
He challenged the chiefs to restore the culture of discipline among their subjects as the way people were behaving clearly showed the country has failed to safeguard its culture.
Senior Chief Mphuka said the promotion of the Chiefs health welfare was a welcome development as chiefs play a crucial role in the social and economic development of the country.
He advised the new chiefs to continue being servants of people in their respective places since their promotion has demonstrated commitment and hard work in their service delivery.
Thyolo District Council Chairperson George Jailosi commended government for promoting the chiefs saying the success of any administration and the ability of a government to efficiently deliver public services highly depend on such people.