Creatives welcome Richard Chimwendo Banda

Miachael Usi

Creatives in the country have dared the new Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture Richard Chimwendo Banda to do more in order to develop the ministry.

In the 27-member Cabinet appointed by President Lazarus Chakwera, Chimwendo Banda has assumed the new ministry to drive cultural affairs, local government and unity, coming from that of sports and youth, which is now being headed by Uchizi Mkandawire.

Once again culture which was previously attached to tourism and wildlife led by renowned comedian Michael Usi, who has been moved to the Natural Resources and Climate Change Ministry, continues to be tossed around without stability from one ministry to the other.


Malawi Folk Dance Music and Songs Society Chairperson James Kitchen welcomed the new minister yesterday but was quick to say that the creative sector has been sidelined for long.

“We hope and expect that he is going to priotise National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec) and make sure that arts and culture are taken seriously,” Kitchen said.

Visual Arts Association of Malawi President Gilbert Mpakule said the minister has more work to do to uplift the creative sector.


“The minister has to look at arts and culture seriously; there are things like Nahec whose bill needs to be passed; rehabilitation of Blantyre Cultural Centre; establishment of National Art Gallery and other programmes,” Mpakule said.

Renowned dramatist Smith Likongwe said he was hopeful that Chimwendo Banda will do things better in propelling arts and culture.

“He is a very capable minister. The civil servants under the ministry should be able to assist him and government achieve the intended goals,” Likongwe said.

He also observed that the movement of culture from one ministry to the other was not healthy.

“Culture should have been a ministry where a lot of effort and resources are allocated not only for our identity but also looking at the potential for job creation and forex generation. It should not look like an afterthought,” Likongwe said.

Film Association of Malawi President Gift Sukez Sukali also said culture needed to be a ministry on its own looking at its value.

“I still feel culture is not been given attention and this is why it keeps on being moved but we welcome the new minister and would love to see the arts sector getting a lot, including having infrastructure,” Sukali said.

Chimwendo Banda could not be reached for his comment yesterday.

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