n Africa Insight - Malawi's traditional leadership and democracy consolidation

Volume 40, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Malawi's local government reform anchored to democratic decentralisation is taking place amidst traditional leaders' growing influence. This article explores the extent to which traditional leaders are involved in promoting democratic principles and analyses the challenges faced. The argument is that the tendency to brand traditional leadership as undemocratic masks debate on its great potential for the promotion of democracy. The article contends that efforts towards democracy consolidation require foregoing harmonious power relations and linkages between traditional leaders and elected local governments; adoption of pragmatic approaches that tap into opportunities offered by traditional institutions, and address the existing political-legal challenges.

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