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Vita Chirwa takes over Mum presidency

AT THE HELM – Chirwa (in red jacket) being congratulated after being announced president

By Sam Banda Jnr & Rebecca Chimjeka

Veteran musician Vita Chirwa of Kalimba Band famed for hits such as ‘Sometimes I Wonder’ has been elected President of the Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum).

Chirwa, who is also a traditional leader and is from the Central Region chapter, beat outgoing president Gloria Manong’a and Anthony Dumbah during elections which were part of the annual general congress held in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

Chirwa whose deputy is Martha Nthakomwa from the Northern Region chapter could not hide his excitement with the victory Thursday saying it was now time for him and the new National Executive Committee (Nec) to get to work.

“I feel greatly honoured to be entrusted by fellow musicians to serve as their president,” he said.

Chirwa, who is expected to serve a four- year term, said his plans include unifying musicians and inspiring them to work together as a team, speak with one voice and fight for common goals.

“We want Mum to grow into a body that value and respect every musician and artist. We want to unearth talent, promote and protect musicians and their works, source funding for Mum projects, capacity building and several other initiatives,” he said.

Manong’a, who took over the presidency from Bishop Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango after he resigned and was, seeking re-election, could not be drawn to comment on the elections.

But the music body’s chairperson of board of trustees Pastor Wycliffe Chimwendo described the elections as free and fair and that they were conducted by officials from Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) and Ministry of Labour.

“The elections were free and fair. Of course there will always be complaints at the end but overall it was free and fair,” Chimwendo said.

He said their holding of the congress which was officially opened by Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi was a step in the right direction for the union.

“Elections were just part of the congress but there was so much that musicians discussed and achieved. For instance, there was constitutional amendments and we looked at the membership subscription which has now gone up by 100 percent and we also introduced registration fee,” the veteran gospel musician said.

He also described the creation of the Youth Desk which will be headed by Alex Nkalo as an achievement aimed at accommodating young artists into the union.

The other members of the new Nec are Tony Chitimatima (General Secretary), Brenda Kadam’manja (Vice General Secretary), Martha Mituka (Treasurer General) and Mable Lwanda (Mum Women’s Desk Chairperson).

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