Ngoni chiefs, through the Mzimba Heritage Association (Mziha), have demanded an apology from Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) over remarks on polygamy and beer drinking.
The chiefs made the demand during a meeting with the synod leadership last Thursday in Mzuzu.
They had asked for an audience with the synod to resolve the issue amicably after an exchange of words between the two parties at a public event last month.
Synod general secretary (GS) the Reverend Levi Nyondo snubbed the chiefs’ request for a meeting, arguing that is tantamount to corruption.
However, the synod—through its moderator the Reverend John Gondwe and deputy GS Joseph Mwale, allegedly had an audience with the chiefs who were represented by Mziha chairperson Professor Boston Soko and secretary Aupson Thole, among others.
In an interview, Soko confirmed meeting the synod where they presented a letter, which The Nation has seen, demanding that the synod should apologise.
Without the apology, the letter says, the Ngoni people will create a synod of their own in the district.
It reads: “The people of Mzimba request the Livingstonia Synod on the following: An apology from the synod if they agree that what was said at Ephangweni was not in good place… and synod practice of rebuking, teaching and preaching the word of God.
“If the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia finds it difficult to live with the people of Mzimba, whom it terms as polygamists and drunkards, let the people of Mzimba have their own synod.”
The letter says the synod’s attack on the chiefs has had negative implications among the Ngoni who are now “perceived as the worst sinners in the synod”.
“Since the attack was made by someone from outside Mzimba, it is perceived as if he did so with the intent of devaluing the traditions and customs of the Ngoni in the name of the synod,” it reads.
Mwale refused to comment on the letter, saying: “Who gave you that letter? Is it the heritage? Because that letter was given to us and we wonder why it has also been given to you. If that is the case, then talk to the heritage. Church issues are not supposed to be discussed in the media,” he said.
Similarly, Nyondo also said he was not aware of the letter.
“Contact those who are said to have attended the meeting,” he said.
Mzimba is the largest district by size in the country and has a population of about one million, most of whom are members of the Livingstonia Synod. n