‘Peter Mutharika should apologise’
Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe of Rumphi has asked President Peter Mutharika to apologise to the Tumbuka fraternity for the fracas his party cadets allegedly engineered during this year’s Gonapamuhunya Cultural Festival held at Bolero in Rumphi three weeks ago.
The Tumbuka chief is also wondering as to why his annual festival has of late become a fertile ground for political conflicts, despite being partially a government event.
Addressing the press in Mzuzu, an entourage of seven chiefs representing the paramount said he suffered embarrassment before fellow traditional leaders, his subjects, both local and Zambian dignitaries who attended the function.
Emptying Chikulamayembe’s grievances, chairperson of this year’s event Group Village Headman Chikalimba said the Paramount Chief is angry over the violence and feels undermined by government.
“There have been other cultural festivals such as Umthetho of the Jele Ngoni and Umhlangano of the Maseko Ngonis in Ntcheu and the Tonga heritage celebrations which were peaceful, why Gonapamuhunya?” Chikalimba queried.
Group Village Headman Kabazamawe did not mince words and claimed that their investigations reveal that DPP cadets were behind the violence.
“Themba la Mathemba is also sure that it is these DPP cadets who incited violence because, apart from refusing to take off their party cloths, the cadets blocked the leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera and it took the paramount to rescue him. That is why he is demanding an apology from the State President. Our paramount understands the power that is in the President’s voice,” Kazabamawe said.
Chikulamayembe has also expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which police executed their duties on the day and their subsequent failure to arrest suspects on the matter.
Responding to the demand, presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said Mutharika has nothing to do with the fracas.
“The calls for him to apologise for the unfortunate violence are misguided. If media reports are anything to go by, the fracas was between politicians of different political parties who tried to outshine each other, presumably they were invited by the organisers,” Kalilani said.
But the chiefs still argued that despite Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia apology, culturally, the President’s voice on the matter is vital in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.
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