MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development, Grace Chiumia has openly told traditional leaders who are siding with the opposition parties that they will not be elevated.
Chiumia made the remarks during the political rally organized by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Saturday at Katoto in Mzuzu.
The meeting was also attended by DPP secretary general Greselder Jeffrey and national campaign director Jappie Mhango among others.
According Chiumia, siding with the opposition parties will not help traditional leaders especially because it is Mutharika who has powers to elevate them.
But when asked on factors that lead to elevation of a chief, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa yesterday refused to comment on the matter.
The minister’s remarks have since been condemned by the opposition and the civil society organisations (CSOs).
She said: “I want to ask you chiefs, and I have seen that even my chiefs from Nkhata Bay are here, when you say you are supporting Professor Mutharika, support him wholeheartedly.
“This money that others give you will not take you anywhere.Tomorrow you will need promotions, you will need to be senior chiefs, you must know that it is the Professor [Mutharika] who elevates chiefs; the opposition does not elevate chiefs.”
During the meeting, group village head (GVH) Thula, who represented Traditional Authority (T.A) Kabunduli of Nkhata Bay, drummed up support for DPP, stating that the party has done a lot while in power and there is need to continue supporting it.
He said: “We have plenty of maize in homes and at Admarc, what more would we want? I want to remind you something, these people, the Mutharikas, they are good people, very good people, we have peace in this country.”
But Thula took a swipe at advisers, alleging that they mislead leaders in this country.
In an interview, Senior Chief Chikulamayembe of Rumphi, while agreeing that chiefs are supposed to work with government of the day, said there was a limit.
He said: “It is proper that we should work with the government of the day, up to a certain point. Anyway, we are not supposed to go into the political arena, we are not. We have to realise our limitations as far as administration is concerned.
“As a traditional leader, I am the custodian of culture, but if somebody wants me to jump my boundaries, as far as my job is concerned, then we will be saying not this way, but that way.”
Mzuzu-based Youth and Society (YAS) executive director Charles Kajoloweka and Timothy Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) have also described the remarks as unfortunate, undemocratic and retrogressive.