It is either the Miss Malawi contest gets back to life as early as possible this year or organisers risk having a 2013 exclusive licence for the 2013 Miss World contest in London withdrawn.
Malawi did not crown its national queen in 2012, thereby leaving a hangover of tenure of office to Susan Mtegha.
Artistic Agency, organisers of Miss Malawi, attribute the blackout on holding the national contest last year to debt.
“We’re hoping that the contest will take place this year after the financial turbulence of 2012, which has put us in a jam of owed payments from the office of Miss Malawi. As we speak, we have already received a 2013 exclusive licence from Miss World in London enabling Malawi to send a representative this year,” said Vitu Kamanga, a representative of the organisers.
He expressed hope that they would hold the 2012/13 Miss Malawi soon, but subject to availability of funds.
“The contest has to take place early this year to meet the Miss World deadline of July, but this solely depends on how finances will come in,” he explained.
According to Kamanga, unlike the last edition of Miss Malawi, this time around, they would make sure that sponsors who sign documents to ensure their pledges. “This will make them fulfil what they pledge because most of them don’t, something that makes us suffer in return,” he said.
Kamanga added that Artistic Agency would also ensure that preparations for Miss World happen earlier to enable the local representative get ready to compete and ‘not just participate’.
He, however, bashed authorities for not utilising Miss Malawi title holders.
“It has always been the Artistic Agency’s wish to get the ministry more involved because we feel Miss Malawi is not utilised at all though she bears the title of tourism and cultural ambassador. She is not involved in any such activities, neither is she involved or invited to major national events. Is she then really a national beauty queen?
“Also bear in mind that the license is under a private entity EML, so whoever runs the pageant needs to go through them first, pay a licence fee and then get in touch with the Ministry. So, it is a process,” observed Kamanga.
Artistic Agency is numb on disclosing the top prize for the 2012/13 Miss Malawi version, but insisted the people should expect the best.
“We aim to make the pageant bigger and better each year we’re given the opportunity to run it. Cash moves everything, without it, we cut corners and compromise on quality. As a national event, this shouldn’t be the case, but for Malawi, sadly it is. We cannot project any top prize until we know what we have available. It would, however, be nice to improve each year,” said Kamanga, adding that Miss Malawi was not the crowning event, but what happens when the queen is in office.
Meanwhile, Artistic Agency has appealed to various stakeholders in the country to empower and support the Miss Malawi initiative if the pageant is to register national success.
“Miss Malawi is meant to be a role model and stand out as an empowered woman. Where are the women parliamentarians, ministers, CEO’s that should support and embrace this young woman, so she experiences growth? It saddens me to note that the very first people to shut doors at Miss Malawi are women bosses. Can young Malawian women be truly empowered if those already in such high positions neglect them?” quizzed Kamanga.
Miss Malawi 2011 Susa Mtegha last year participated in the Miss World contest at the last minute after seeking sponsorship. She did not win anything as she blamed it on late preparations.