Hands off traditional leaders— Gawa Undi


King of the Chewa, Kalonga Gawa Undi, has asked governments of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique not to interfere with the affairs of traditional leadership.

Kalonga Gawa Undi made the remarks at Mkaika in Katete, Zambia on Saturday during this year’s Kulamba traditional ceremony.

“We would like to applaud the three governments for the warm and cordial relationship that exists between them and traditional leadership. This is as it should be as we all look at the welfare of our people though from different perspectives. However, we have noticed that sometimes governments interfere with traditional set-up, which sometimes, unnecessary misunderstandings,” Gawa Undi said.


During Kulamba ceremony, held last Saturday of August every year, Chewa chiefs from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique pay homage to Gawa Undi.

Gawa Undi, who was speaking through one of his chiefs, highlighted some of the problems traditional leaders face.

“Traditional leadership encounters a lot of problems in the discharge of their duties such as succession disputes…. welfare of traditional leaders and resources to run these institutions effectively.


We are appealing to the three governments to look into these issues and have constant dialogue between governments and the chiefs,” said the Chewa King.

He also asked the governments of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique to find a lasting solution to the impact of climate change in the three countries, as the people continue suffering from the food shortages that the change has brought to the countries.

Gawa Undi also encouraged his subjects to send their children to school, especially girls and also to get rid of some cultural practices which fuel the spread of HIV and Aids.

Zambia’s President-elect, Edgar Lungu, underscored the significance of culture.

“Culture underpins our very life. We consider traditional ceremonies as very crucial. It is for this reason that our countries will promote unity through culture. That’s why …traditional leaders have a mammoth responsibility of promoting peace and unity among our people,” Lungu said.

Malawi’s Minister of Sports and Culture, Grace Chiumia, hailed Gawa Undi for stressing that some cultural practices which violate rights of others must be abandoned.

“I would like to commend your royal highness, for clearly stating in his speech that we should get rid of some cultural practices [which spread HIV and Aids]. Most victims of such cultural practices are girls. We need to take a leading role in protecting our girls from harmful cultural practices,” Chiumia said.

She said Kulamba ceremony is important as it helps in reminding people, especially the youth of their culture, which they can pass on to the next generation.

Apart from government officials, other people who went to the ceremony are Themba la Mathemba Chikulamayembe, and representatives of Senior Chief Ngolongoliwa of the Lhomwe people.

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