Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe of the Tumbuka in Rumphi has warned political parties against wearing party regalia during this year’s Gonapamuhanya cultural festival on September 29 at Bolero in Rumphi.
Fresh with lessons from last year, when suspected ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) youth cadets pelted at opposition leaders with stones, Chikulamayembe said the Tumbuka will not tolerate any form of violence.
In an interview on Thursday, the Paramount Chief stressed that they do not want a repeat of last year. He said people have to celebrate their culture in peace.
“We were greatly disturbed last year. We hope we will have peaceful celebrations and we don’t want any violence this year. No one should come in their political colours,” said Chikulamayembe.
According to the Paramount Chief, Themba Muyombe and Themba Thendele of Zambia will attend the event alongside various chiefs from Malawi.
Last year, the cadets first attacked Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera, who had to be whisked away in a vehicle sent by Chikulamayembe.
Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia, who represented President Peter Mutharika, also warned political parties against politicising the event.
“We don’t want politics to affect such events. We were in Ntcheu and Mzimba where we celebrated the cultural festivals. The events went on smoothly and we want the same to happen. Our President encourages people to celebrate their culture so we need to celebrate in peace,” she said.
President of one faction of the Alliance for Democracy (Aford) Enoch Chihana, who was one of the victims last year, said anyone wearing political colours will have to be thrown out.
He promised to liaise with fellow legilstors in Rumphi to ensure that people do not wear their political colours at the event.
On his part, MCP spokesperson Maurice Munthali urged police to ensure that security is tight there.
The festival commemorates the first Chikulamayembe, Gonapamuhanya, who established the kingdom. The chieftaincy started when Mlowoka came to Malawi in 1780.