National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) Board on Monday released results of elections that were held on Saturday, declaring Blantyre-based veteran actor Maxwell Chiphinga better known as Max DC, as the president.
Max DC takes over from the late Eric Mabedi, who headed the previous National Executive Committee (Nec) before expiry of their term.
The announcement of the official results comes after the results were withheld following Northern Region chapter’s failure to vote after they boycotted elections due to lack of information.
Ntam Board Chairperson Timothy Chikoja said Tuesday they gave Northern Region chapter 48 hours to lodge their complaint but nothing came out, hence proceeding to announce the results.
“Everything is under control now. We would like to congratulate the new executive and we wish them all the best in their endeavours. Now there has to be sanity; let us move forward for the growth of theatre in the country,” Chikoja said.
A letter dated September 27 2021 from the board to regional chairpersons, signed by Chikoja and taskforce chairperson McArthur Matukuta, indicates that Max DC amassed 158 votes, beating Edwin Chonde who got nine votes to claim the presidency.
The position of vice president has gone to Beauty Fologonya, who amassed 144 votes beating Moses Chirambo and Sam Sambo, who got five votes and 13 votes, respectively.
The other elected members in Nec, which has been dominated by, Southern Region, include Bernard Gondwe (general secretary), Mildred Murindiwa (vice general secretary), Shadreck Jumaina (treasurer general), Fumbani Phiri (publicity secretary) and Gibson Chisale (vice publicity secretary).
However, some members have gone to town with the board, describing the elections as not free and fair in that Northern Region chapter and other members boycotted.
Others also feel that the elections were not constitutional, arguing that the constitution provides that an elective conference shall take place at an annual general meeting (AGM) which is set to be held next month.
Max DC, who leads Emancipation Theatrical Ensemble, said yesterday he was ready for the challenge.
“Plans are so many, but God willing, my plans are generally to change the status of Ntam and make it recognisable and visible and make its members proud that they belong to the body,” he said.
The actor, playwright, musician, filmmaker and storyteller, said the first thing for them to do is to put the house in order.
“We need to formulate a strategic plan for the next 15 years. We need to sit down and articulate our vision and put it in black and white. This will be our road map on how we will move; otherwise, we are grouping in darkness without this document,” he said.
On Nec being dominated by members from the Southern Region, Max DC said democracy dictates that the majority must rule.
“Blantyre is the home of most artists and, yes, it is an advantage because the office will be easy to run with most of the executive members here but we also have a general secretary from the Northern chapter and this just shows that we are a national body,” he said.