Crown prince Mkhosi Jele, eldest son of Malawi’s late Paramount Chief M’mbelwa IV, will take over the M’mbelwa chieftaincy after the burial of his father this Saturday, a senior Jele Ngoni chief has said.
Inkosi Mphelembe of Mzimba said in an interview in the capital, Lilongwe the official ceremony to enthrone M’mbelwa V will occur after burial of M’mbelwa IV and the mourning period at Edingeni in Mzimba.
And Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Maganizo Mazeze said Jele currently works for First Merchant Bank (FMB) in Lilongwe.
No further details about Jele were available from officials, but his Facebook profile indicates that he was born on April 16 1985 and that he works as a bank clerk at FMB.
The profile also shows that he joined FMB last April and that before that, he worked as a data entry clerk at the Electoral Commission between March 2008 and June 2009. In 2006, he was at St Patrick’s High School.
Jele refused to grant The Nation an interview on his new role, saying: “Do you think this is the right time to discuss that? How do I talk to you when my father is lying there [in state]?”
Paying the last respects
Earlier Wednesday, Vice-President Khumbo Kachali, who coincidentally comes from Edingeni, the headquarters of Paramount Chief M’mbelwa, led Malawians in paying the last respects to the body of the late M’mbelwa IV at Mtunthama State Lodge in Lilongwe.
M’mbelwa IV died on Tuesday at Mwaiwathu Private Hospital in Blantyre where he was treated for a diabetes attack after being referred from Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe last Saturday. He was 56.
Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda and Cabinet ministers such as Henry Phoya, Grace Maseko, Goodall Gondwe and Ken Kandodo also paid their last respects as did several members of Parliament, religious leaders, traditional leaders, political party officials, members of the business community and scores of ordinary Malawians who consoled the bereaved royal family.
Mazeze said M’mbelwa IV’s body will be taken to Mzimba today for burial on Saturday.
How M’mbelwa IV will be buried
Senior Chief Inkosi Mphelembe said M’mbelwa IV will be buried following all funeral rites for Ngoni chiefs which include putting the body in a sitting position, wrapping him with nguwo (cow hide) and placing a cattle gallbladder on his body to symbolise the power of the deceased chief.
He also said the ceremony will involve mourning of the late chief with Ngoni dance.
Mphelembe said a gun will be fired before taking M’mbelwa IV’s body from the house in Mzimba to the burial site where he said the gun will be fired again before lowering the body into the grave.
After the lowering of the body into the grave, Mphelembe said the firstborn son of late M’mbelwa IV will stand on the side of his father’s grave and carry the arrow his father was using as a symbol of his ascendancy to power.
Burial of the chief will be followed by further mourning period and shaving of the heads of the mourners, according to Mphelembe.
On the foreign dignitaries, Mphelembe said they have invited Inkosi ya Makosi Mpezeni from Chipata and Inkosi Magodi from Lundazi in Zambia to attend the ceremony.
Mphelembe said they have also invited King Goodwill Zwelithini of Zululand in South Africa and King Mswati III of Swaziland to be present at the ceremony, but said the invited chiefs are yet to confirm their presence.
M’mbelwa the man
M’mbelwa IV was born Zwangendaba Jele on August 15 1954. He was installed chief in 1984 after the death of his father. He did his primary school at Edingeni and was selected to Mzuzu Government Secondary School in 1976.
He later worked for Press Holdings and Shire Valley Cattle Ranch before being installed as chief. He served in a number of boards while he was chief.
Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa IV is survived by a wife, three sons and a daughter.