International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)

International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)
Call for Papers | Fully Refereed | Open Access | Double Blind Peer Reviewed

ISSN: 2319-7064


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Research Paper | Public Administration | India | Volume 9 Issue 4, April 2020


The Role of Traditional Leaders in Rural Development, a Case Study of Karonga District in Malawi

David Kayiwonanga Gondwe


Abstract: In Malawi traditional leaders have well defined power, authority and influence which they exercise on their subjects within their area (Lule Godfrey, 1995). Historically the institution of traditional leadership is dated back to the pre-colonial era. Since then its governance structure has undergone several changes in order to fit in the modern democracy. This institution was established in accordance with the Chiefs Act, 1967 and operationalized by the Local Government Act, 1998. During colonial rule Traditional Leaders were mostly involved in tax collection, administration of customary land and maintaining peace and order. While in the present day they are responsible for initiating development projects, community and resource mobilization and monitoring development, (Chinsinga Blessings, 2010). This indicates that there is a close link between role of traditional leaders, decentralization and rural development. They are considered as reliable and dependable eyes and ears of people and they act as entry points for rural areas. Since Rural Development also involves Traditional leaders in order to uplift the living standard of the rural poor they are considered as catalyst of development. However they are faced with challenges ranging from high levels of illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, favoritism, politicization of development work, conflict with politicians to scarcity of resources. In respect to this the aim of this paper is to critically examine the role of traditional leaders in rural development, ‘A case study of Karonga District in Malawi. ’


Keywords: Traditional leaders, decentralization, rural development, resource mobilization, local Councils


Edition: Volume 9 Issue 4, April 2020,


Pages: 1584 - 1589


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