Veteran musician Giddess Chalamanda has found himself in the limelight again this week after reports emerged that he is in a dire financial situation. He made the revealation in a radio interview he gave recently.
The reports caught music lovers by surprise, considering that not long ago FDH Bank announced a K2 million relief package for the artist to help sustain him in his old age. The deal was brokered by the bank’s brand ambassador recording artist Patience Namadingo.
News of Chalamanda’s situation also caught the FDH team by surprise, who led by Namadingo, followed up with the ageing artist to find out the truth behind his utterances in the interview.
In the initial video showing Namadingo’s first visit to Chalamanda’s home, it is clear that the artist lives in a dilapidated house.
Chalamanda pointed out during the MIJ FM radio interview that his family would like some assistance that would go towards renovation of his house or building him a new house altogether.
“There is a piece of land where the house can be constructed. I am, therefore, asking well-wishers to come in and help me to have a house. People should help me now, while I am alive and not when I am dead,” he said.
FDH and Namadingo’s visit after the radio interview, led to revelations that the Che Meli hitmaker did the interview under the facilitation of a man identified as Charles Nkhanga, manager for one of the entertainment and leisure spots along the Blantyre-Zomba road, Summer Land.
According to a recorded video chat that we have seen between Namadingo and Chalamanda who was accompanied by his wife Abiti Alafuledi and his son Clifford, a mobile money Mpamba account was created for Chalamanda through Nkhanga’s guidance.
“Nkhani iyi ndikuyimva koma ndikuyikana. Pali wina wake waku Summer Land ko amene anabwera kudzanditenga kuti tipite ku radio [Yes its true but it wasn’t my own making. Someone who works at Summer Land came and took me to the radio],” narrated Chalamanda in the presence of his son Clifford and his wife.
Following the opening of the Mpamba account, it is alleged that over K100 000 was deposited from various well-wishers from across the country. But according to the veteran artist, he only got K30 000.
He said: “When he [Charles] was here, he said some people had sent K50 000, others K20 000 and other amounts. I withdrew K22 000 at first but when I went again to withdraw I only found K8 000. The agent told me there is no money left in the phone.”
Surprisingly, when Namadingo called Nkhanga, as a well-wisher willing to help the artist, he provided his personal account details for him to send his contribution. He said he had since suspended the Mpamba contributions as he awaits to open a bank account for the exercise.
In a separate interview, Nkhanga admitted that indeed money amounting to over K100 000 was deposited in the Mpamba account, but he does not know where the other amount went. He also admitted that he knew the account’s password.
“I cannot competently comment on the disappearance of the other sum, but I am not responsible for that. I am even ready to have this issue taken to Police so that they investigate the truth. My only intention was to help Chalamanda,” said Nkhanga.
In a separate interview, FDH Financial Holdings public relations officer Lorraine Lusinje said as an institution, they are not moved with the confusion that is being created by other agents surrounding the well-being of Chalamanda.
She said FDH remains steadfast in fulfilling its commitment: “The reason we decided to support him was driven by the fact that he needs support and we are running with that process to make sure that his well-being improves.
“The truth has already been detailed in the video post made by our brand ambassador yesterday where Chalamanda confirmed consistently receiving financial support from us. The rest will be handled by the police. Our plan is to make sure the shop is operational by September.”
According to the bank, the money will go towards the construction and setting up of a grocery business for Chalamanda with K1.5 million allocated towards construction and stocking up the shop while K500 000 was deposited into his account where he is getting K50 000 monthly as his upkeep until the business is off the ground.
Lusinje said the shop will also be used as a Bank Pakhomo Agent for his continued financial support. They will also offer him basic business management lessons to help him run the business well.
Meanwhile, the issue has ignited a debate on whether Chalamanda needs a manager.
The Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) also said it will step in to see what role it can play to help Chalamanda.
The union’s president Gloria Manong’a said the issue reached her office.
“We cannot divulge more information at this stage until we are done with our discussions. We have taken this issue seriously and, therefore, we will get to the bottom of it,” she said in an interview.