The absence of Mulli Brothers Holdings Limited (MBHL) Group Managing Director, Leston Mulli, at 2015 Mulhako wa Alhomwe festival last Saturday has raised some questions on his once-upon-a-time strong bond with the cultural grouping.
Mulli, a founding member for Mulhako wa Alhomwe, member of board of trustees and one-time biggest sponsor for the annual festival, was conspicuously missing at the event he has been attending since the cultural group came into being on October 25, 2008.
Unlike in the past when MBHL subsidiaries hugely sponsored the Mulanje-based event, the list of names of companies and individuals that Mulhako wa Alhomwe chairperson, James Seyani, mentioned during the event did not include any of the MBHL subsidiaries.
The names mentioned included President Peter Mutharika, Vice President Saulos Chilima , Nyasa Manufacturers, Mapeto David White Head, Export Trading, Kaponji, Kukoma Cooking Oil and Proteins, Airtel and Worldwide.
While some inside sources said Mulli flew out of the country to attend to some private family issues, some said family issues aside, all is not well in probably one of the most vibrant cultural groupings in country.
When called to explain the reasons behind his absence at a function he has been passionately attending, Mulli took a strong swipe at the Times reporter.
“Why are you always interested in any activities surrounding Mulli? You have been writing a lot of articles about Mulli. There
are a lot of issues that are taking place in the country but you cannot even write about those issues. When you wake up and sit down, all what you think about is writing issues about Mulli…how his company is doing…why do you do that?’ asked Mulli in anger.
He described the reporter as stupid, misguided and a degraded person.
“How can you ask those stupid questions? If I have failed to go to Mulhako, do you mean that there’s something wrong? You think I should fail to do some errands I have because of going to Mulhako?
“Why should I get questions from you for not attending the Mulhako, you are a child with a corrupted mind. You want me to let you know where I spent my night and where am travelling today. What has it got to do with your newspaper if I do not go to Mulhako?” Mulli said.
He said many people do not go to Mulhako while others go because of their busy schedules attending to other problems.
“Should I be telling you that I went to see a sick person, I went to my farm or that I went to see a vehicle involved in a road accident? Can’t you have sense in your head, to think before you call if the question is valid? You are a misguided person and never call me again for those stupid questions,” narrated Mulli.
But Chairperson for the Publicity Committee, Gift Dulla, said there is nothing unusual with Mulli’s absence at Saturday’s function.
He said attending any festival, including Mulhako wa Alhomwe, is a personal choice and there are reasons that may prevent a person from attending, saying Mulli is not the only trustee who failed to avail himself for the event.
“It is not true [that all is not well]. Mr Mulli has been with us throughout. He even attended our initial preparatory meetings, the first two or three. He is in our board of trustees and the board of trustees was not involved in preparatory meetings for Mulhako. Mulhako was going through reforms and one of the reforms is that the trustees [should not be] involved in the actual organisation of that function.
“People do attend to personal businesses. We have 10 members in our board of trustees and I think it is only about four or five people who attended. They were busy with their own personal businesses. Some were outside the country and it is not something that is unique to Mulli. He is bona fide Mulhako and he is fully in support of the Mulhako initiatives. Mr Mulli always supports us in kind,” Dulla said.
According to some sources, there is also a rift on who becomes the highest positioned traditional leader among the Lhomwes with some not in support of the current Patron Traditional Authority Ngolongoliwa being turned into Paramount [Mwene wa Mamwene].
Late Chief Mkhumba of Phalombe was the Mwene wa Mamwene.
Ironically, Ngolongoliwa was consistently referred to as Mwene wa Mamwene at the event.
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