CCAP Livingstonia Synod moderator Douglas Chipofya on Saturday hijacked the Umthetho Cultural Festival to launch a scathing rant at homosexuality, terming it ‘pure evil’ and ‘animal-like behaviour’.
Chipofya was asked to offer an opening prayer at the annual Ngoni event, but he quickly strayed into a 10-minute appeal against same-sex marriages.
Before being told to sit down after a sermon human rights activists often find homophobic, the reverend reiterated the synod’s demand for President Peter Mutharika to abolish the quota system of selecting students to public universities, saying it is denying deserving Malawians access to education.
However, the audience was audibly silent when he urged Mutharika to emulate Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta, who recently told US leader Barack Obama homosexuality is a non-issue, by standing against “alien cultural influences”.
“Culture is good, but we should not allow some people to take advantage of our cultural celebrations to bring alien practices. Let me be honest, homosexuality is pure evil. I appeal to you, the State president, to do as your Kenyan counterpart did to Obama. As a church and Malawians, we ask you to say no to this evil,” said Chipofya.
He praised Mutharika for launching construction of Mombera University of Animal Sciences in Mzimba to ease the scramble for higher education in the country, but reiterated that the country needs a short-term solution to end the quota system which the synod’s general secretary, the Reverend Levi Nyondo, termed a monster.
According to Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa V, Umthetho envisages preserving and celebrating everything good about Ngoni cultural practices, including performing Ingoma dance and drinking local brews.
The king of kings of Mzimba Ngonis urged against harmful cultural practices, especially the rush for dowry which forces girls into early marriages; chokolo, a tendency of inheriting deceased’s wives, which is fuelling HIV infection and property grabbing which often impoverishes widows and orphans.
But M’mbelwa V earned ululations when he told the President: “You have travelled by road and I am convinced that when you get to Lilongwe, you will think about the road. We need a better road to open up this area. Hora Mountain is a tourism site, but its potential is nothing without a good road.”
On the eve of the function, M’mbelwa V commissioned construction of a campsite atop Hora Mountain for tourists, hikers and researchers visiting the area which Mzimba Heritage Association general secretary Ndabazake Thole remembered as the epicentre of early Ngoni settlements.
The hill overlooks a venue of the Umthetho festival, earmarked for a royal hotel, stadium, museum and a library immortalising the one-time warlike tribe’s way of life.
Minister of Information Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa commended Mzimba residents for taking steps to preserve and promote their culture.
“If people feel ashamed of themselves, they will not promote their culture,” said Nankhumwa.
Describing culture as the bedrock of development, President Mutharika said cultural values will make Malawi a proud, united and successful country.
He advised Malawians to be people of high patriotism and integrity and urged them against looting and destroying the only country God gave us. n