Dust is refusing to settle in the tussle between some Rumphi chiefs and the Synod of Livingstonia of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) with the traditional leaders condemning the synod over the handling of the recent burial of Themba la Mathemba Chilumayembe.
The chiefs have since asked the church to apologise for allegedly bringing the chief’s burial on Tuesday into disrepute.
But the synod has rebuffed the call for an apology, saying the chiefs already apologised to the synod during the ceremony and that the matter is now water under the bridge, according to the synod’s moderator Reverend Douglas Chipofya.
This comes against the background of Tuesday’s political rivalry during the burial of Chikulamayembe, where the church accused government of sidelining it and other political leaders in the programme. The events that followed led to a temporary suspension of the service.
It took some chiefs and Presbyterians’ intervention to cool down the tension and for the service to resume. With reference to how the events turned out and the church’s reaction, acting Chief Chikulamayembe, who son to the late paramount, Mtima Gondwe, has since asked the church to apologise.
In an interview on Thursday, Gondwe said all the Tumbuka traditional leaders and the family were disappointed with how the service was conducted.
“What happened angered the chiefs and they have since written the synod asking them to apologise to us,” he said.
Gondwe then owned up to a letter that has been circulating on social media signed by group village heads Kabazamawe, Khalapamuhanya, Kamzinga and Hunga, addressing the moderator of the Livingstonia Synod, which is condemning the church’s actions during the burial service on Tuesday. The letter has been signed by junior chiefs despite Rumphi having five traditional authorities (T/As) and two sub-T/As.
The letter demands an unconditional apology from the two leaders of the Livingstonia Synod.
Reacting to the sentiments, in an interview on Thursday, Chipofya said although they have not received any communication from the chiefs and the family, they will not apologise to anyone.
Said Chipofya: “It would be very strange to apologise over the matter.”
Chipofya said there is no need for the church to apologise; instead, he asked the chiefs or government to apologise to the family.
“We were only doing our job. When we see that things are not going in the right direction, we correct. The idea of an apology does not apply,” Chipofya insisted.
According to him, the group village head Kabazamawe already apologised to the church when the service was temporarily suspended, that they blundered by excluding the church when coming up with the programme.
But, while admitting that the funeral programme had flaws, some traditional leaders from the Tumbuka tribe, have pushed the blame on the synod’s general secretary Reverend Levi Nyondo for creating a scene at the ceremony.
Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwamlowe blamed Nyondo for speaking after the Ministerof Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa had already spokenon behalf of President Peter Mutharika who attended the ceremony.