By Joel Chirwa
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Dr. Ben Phiri Tuesday presided over the installation ceremony of Mtima Walter Gondwe as Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe who is the supreme traditional leader of Tumbuka people.
Speaking during the installation ceremony, Phiri urged Gondwe to be championing peace and fairness and avoid indulging in bribery and corruption when serving his subjects.
“Now that you have been officially installed as paramount chief you need to reconcile with and forgive all those who were opposing your chieftaincy. It is only through that, that you can build a peaceful kingdom.
“You also need to ensure that there is no culture of bribery and corruption by ensuring that you treat all your subjects fairly without discrimination,” said Phiri.
He said it is the responsibility of chiefs to be part and parcel of all players in championing peace in the country.
“Malawi currently is not the same peaceful country as it used to be. Today people are looting shops, hacking each other and burning houses of fellow citizens like what recently happened in Nkhata Bay.
“It is my appeal to all chiefs in the country to be in the fore front in restoring the country’s peace,” he said.
Phiri gave the advice amidst tension amongst some of the chieftaincy family members, especially of the Joseph Bongololo Gondwe family who claimed that Gondwe was not the right person for the chieftaincy.
Due to the tension, venue of the installation ceremony kept on changing, first it was the chieftaincy’ headquarter Bolero, then Rumphi Stadium until finally it was shifted to Mkondezi the headquarters of Senior Chief Mwankhunikira.
This did not go well with some of the followers of Joseph Bongololo Gondwe a claimant to the throne who earlier attempted to block officials from Rumphi District Commissioner’s office from facilitating the installation ceremony.
It took the intervention of heavily armed police to calm the situation which was characterized with widespread violent scenes at Rumphi Boma and the paramount’s office at Bolero was petrol bombed.
Commenting on the incidents and the installation ceremony, Senior Chief Mwankhunikira said the issue of the chieftaincy wrangle between the two families was resolved on February 12, 2019 when all the warring factions agreed to have Mtima as the right heir to the throne.
He also disclosed that the factions came up with a constitution that would be followed to ensure peaceful and smooth succession to the Chikulamayembe’s chieftaincy in future.
Gondwe has replaced his late father, Walter Hardy Gondwe who passed on in November, 2018.-MANA