It must take buckets of anger for a chief, who we consider to be a custodian of culture, to spew venom at people who were supposed to be, for all intents and purposes, his children, his subjects.
But, sadly, if ever anyone was on the lookout for a chief who had a bucketful of anger, the venerable Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and Chitipa would be culpable. Kyungu, instead of playing custodian of culture, has played the perfect custodian of anger. Shame.
Just on Sunday, during the official inauguration of the K610 million Karonga Stadium, Kyungu decided to create his own agenda by moving away from the stadium-inauguration script to attack those who point fingers at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government.
Of course, like all citizens of Malawi, Kyungu has a right to express himself. He has a right to impart his opinion. But, as they say, one’s rights must not go beyond the full stretch of the hand because, there, someone’s rights begin.
But Kyungu, in his wisdom— perhaps due to over-excitement— went beyond. Of course, we realise that, being human beings, chiefs are sometimes victims of uncontrolled emotions. That said, we did not expect a venerable chief to sink so low that he could call the government’s critics “fools”.
If Kyungu and like-minded chiefs want to be schooled, the one thing we can tell them is that the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi provides for rights, one of which being the right to impart an opinion. There are many other guarantees, including international instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the like.
The other thing we can tell Kyungu, and other misguided chiefs, is that chiefs are not supposed to be tainted by partisan politics, especially because they serve all people, regardless of sex, political affiliation, religion and the like.
So, by clearly towing a party line— the blue line of the DPP, to be precise— Kyungu has crossed the boundaries of impartiality and failed miserably on the scale of unspotted leadership.
It is high time Kyungu and others of his ilk realised that critics oil the government’s engine of development. Through criticism, the government is able to identify gaps in national development efforts and work towards the betterment of all. Otherwise, there would not be such a word as constructive criticism.
We would, in no uncertain terms, like to ask Kyungu to leave politics to politicians, or throw down the cloak of chieftainship and get into the ring of active politics. There, he will encounter foul-mouthed human beings who may, after all, prove his equal.
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