Almost a year after the controversial Miss World participation by former Miss Malawi Susan Mtegha there is no hope that Malawi will participate in the Miss World competition this year.
According to Events Management Limited title holders of the Miss Malawi pageant, the local title holder will this year not be able to participate in the continental pageant due to planning hitches.
“We have told the upcoming organisers of Miss Malawi to for go the Miss World competition this year since there will not be ample time to prepare for it. But we will have a Miss Malawi competition this year,” said Carver Bhima of EML.
He hinted that there was a group that was in the process of completing the agreement for this year’s contest but they would be revealed at a later stage.
So far 46 countries have registered to participate in the competition this year with Malawi’s space simply showing blanks for the date of the contest and the contestant.
On the other hand, former Miss Malawi Susan Mtegha claims she is yet to get K300 000 (about $750) meant as prize money for the pageant.
In an exclusive interview, Mtegha, whose reign officially came to an end in December last year, said she has tried all means to get her money back to no avail prompting her to consider legal redress.
The former queen swooped several accolades at the glamorous gala night held at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe which saw her cart home about K600 000 in prize money, apart from other presents from various partners of the event.
Apart from the ultimate crown, Mtegha was also voted the Miss Top Model and Miss Talent by a five-man jury on the night.
“But out of this amount, I only got K300 000 [about $750],” Mtegha explains.
The 27-year-old added that she was told she would get the rest at the end of her office tenure, to which she obliged.
“But up to now, a balance of K300 000 has not been paid to me,” she whined.
Mtegha has since accused former manager and event organiser Vitu Kamanga of deceit.
She added that whenever queried over the issue, Kamanga kept saying he finally would pay her from his own pocket as some sponsors did not honour their pledges, hence he needed some more time.
But in a separate interview, Kamanga admitted to still owing Mtegha the said amount. However, he opted to call the current stand-off “just a misunderstanding.”
“Ok, the thing is we had a pact with Susan [Mtegha] that since the pageant had no established official sponsor to fund her activities whilst in office, most of her benefits would rely on her vigilance in championing various fundraising activities.
“This is simply because the pageant isn’t run by a foundation of some sort in this country. It would have been far much better if we had a trustee in place to run it on annual basis like things are done in other countries. In our case, we had to use our own personal income as organisers just to stitch some patches in the build-up to the event.”
He however promised to pay Mtegha the money in due course, by organising some events, arguing that she [Mtegha] deserves better since she is one of the few to have done the pageant and the country proud.
But in an interview on Wednesday, the country’s renowned figure in running the pageant, Bhima, bemoaned the inconsistencies in having the annual beauty contests in recent years in which he said has “chopped off some pride in the country’s cultural heritage.”
Bhima, in whose time the pageant used to enjoy massive support, attributed the dwindling popularity of the national beauty pageant to lack of sponsorship.
“Unlike then [in his days], sponsorship nowadays is not as forthcoming. Of course, the issue may also have something to do with the recent promoter. But it can be understandable since they were only relatively new on the scene. Still he has done his best,” he said.
He also agreed with various quarters of the public who called on the need to create a public trust for the effective running of the pageant.
“I think it’s high time we rethink on how best to restore the pageant of its lost glory, and we need to do it as a nation and not necessarily leaving it a one-man-show.
Meanwhile, Bhima, who had been at the helm of the beauty pageant until some five years ago, quickly dismissed the prospect a making a comeback himself, saying running the pageant is too involving for his health. A stroke forced Bhima to prematurely bow out of the beauty contest stage.