Published in NyasaTimes on 15.5.2010
Inkosi ya Makosi M'Mbelwa, paramount chief of the Ngoni has opposed government plans to ban polygamy.
Minister of Gender, Women and Children affairs, Patricia Kaliati disclosed that the proposed law would prevent women from being abused in polygamous relationships.
But speaking on Straight Talk programme aired on Capital Radio Thursday evening, the Ngoni paramount chief said he was in disagreement with the proposed law.
"I am totally against it. They can't just rush into banning it without the consent of the people, without the consent of the nationals," the chief said.
"They have the capacity; they can do it but that will be wrong. They will be judged," he said.
"It's something traditional and biblical. There are reasons why people are getting into polygamy," Inkosi M'Mbelwa said.
The Ngoni paramount chief said he was not practising polygamy but he would not hesitate to take a second wife.
"I may do it depending on my wish. None will say why has Inkosi done so," he added "That is part of the culture, I can do it."
He vehemently opposed the move by government to ban men marrying more than two wives.
"I am worried they are coming too close to things that are very much of rural set-up of the people. Mind you it's cultural and biblical. Why has it been necessary today's Malawi government to say we should ban it," he queried.
The proposed law also angered the Muslim Association of Malawi, which said it would discriminate against the country's Muslim minority.
"We totally reject it. There are also other ethnic groups [who practise polygamy] and they also totally reject this," Imran Shareef Muhammed, secretary general of the Muslim Association of Malawi, told the BBC's Network Africa programme recently.
"If these people go ahead banning polygamous marriages, it means many women will go into prostitution. Every woman has the right to be under the shelter of a man."
But government said there had been wide consultation about the matter, a claim which has been disputed by various groups of people in the society.