Malawi’s ruling People’s Party (PP) officials, led by Brown Mpinganjira, on Tuesday approached Thyolo district commissioner (DC) Lawford Palani and asked him to organise chiefs in the district to apologise to President Joyce Banda over remarks made by their colleague.
The youthful Traditional Authority (T/A) Bvumbwe of Thyolo on Sunday, during the burial ceremony of the late High Court judge Joseph Manyungwa, told the President that he was disappointed with the distribution of PP T-shirts at the funeral.
The chief openly told the President that it should never happen again, and if the party officials wanted, they could hold political rallies and distribute the T-shirts there.
After some closed-door meetings at the DC’s office in Thyolo on Tuesday, two senior chiefs, some T/As and two sub-T/As were bundled onto a Toyota Land Cruiser offered by the Thyolo DC.
They were driven to Blantyre where an abrupt news conference was organised by the Ministry of Information and Civic Education at the Central Office of Information (COI).
At the news conference, Senior Chief Chimaliro told journalists that the chiefs travelled to Blantyre to apologise to the President on behalf of T/A Bvumbwe over his remarks.
Chimaliro said T/A Bvumbwe should not have rebuked the President openly as he had an opportunity to do that after burial.
He said T/A Bvumbwe might have been drunk when he made the remarks, but asked by a journalist how he knew the chief might have been high on something, Chimaliro said that was his suspicion because T/A Bvumbwe is usually drunk.
T/A Bvumbwe, asked for his reaction on drunkenness allegations in an interview last evening, refused to comment and referred The Nation to the DC.
Said T/A Bvumbwe: “Is that so? They said I was drunk? Alright, talk to the DC.”
Palani said in an interview last evening that he held a development meeting with the chiefs and after that, the chiefs asked for a vehicle which he offered to take them to Blantyre to relay to journalist what was discussed.
Palani, who admitted meeting Mpinganjira in his office, said the issue of T/A Bvumbwe was mentioned at the meeting with the chiefs. He said he explained the role of the chiefs, according to Chief’s Act.
Mpinganjira was not available for his comment.
Ironically, the President, soon after she took over power following the death of Bingu wa Mutharika, assured Malawians that she will never under her reign parade chiefs on the national broadcaster for political mileage as the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) used to do.