By Malawi News Agency

President Peter Mutharika has appealed to all Malawians to observe their cultural values and use the same to promote peace and unity in the country.

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Mulhako wa Alhomwe at Chonde in the area of Traditional Authority Mthiramanja in Mulanje under the theme: ‘Youth Empowerment,’ on Sunday, Mutharika said culture is crucial in the development of the country hence needs to be nurtured.

“Culture is very important in building the nation. We must all refrain from jealousy as it hinders development and work together with integrity and hard – work to develop the nation as a unit. Tribal groups are just for identification but as a country, we stand as one,” said Mutharika.

He, therefore, commended this year’s Mulhako wa Alhomwe theme, saying youths in the country were struggling with many problems including unemployment yet they are expected to be the future productive leaders.

“As a country we have not been fair to the youth, imagine, since independence up to now we don’t have a youth policy,” he lamented.

Mutharika said government has began working on developing a youth policy to end some of the current problems young people were facing in the country, including unemployment.

The Malawi leader disclosed government has secured USD6.5 million from the European Union to enable the youth venture into small scale businesses and farming to be self – reliant.

He also revealed that government plans to construct 15 more community technical colleges across the country to equip the youth with necessary vocational skills to support their wellbeing.

On health, Mutharika observed that government plans to construct a cancer hospital and a district hospital in Blantyre, noting that construction of Phalombe District Hospital is already under way.

“All these efforts are meant to provide a healthy living for Malawians so that they can be productive citizens of this country,” he added.

On blood sucking, Mutharika said government’s stand remains that there has been no legitimate proof that the incidents are happening, citing recent revelations by society of medical doctors of Malawi research that points out lack of medical evidence.

Mutharika, therefore, thanked traditional and religious leaders in the affected districts for their role in fostering peace during the hard times and residence for returning to sleeping in their homes, saying government would continue to provide security until the matter is resolved.

Mulhako wa Alhomwe Chairperson of Board of Trustees, John Seyani said culture is vital as traditional leaders complement government’s efforts in fostering development by creating awareness in various developmental activities and responding to some of the challenges the country faces like natural disasters.

Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa commended President Mutharika for his continued support during various cultural festivals without regard to his tribe.

Ngongoliwa advised Mutharika not to look at the past since God was in control of his leadership and also thanked people from different tribal backgrounds for gracing the occasion, saying it was the most memorable in ten years.

Minister of Civic Education and Culture, Grace Chiumia hailed the president for promoting culture in the country, saying Mulhako wa Alhomwe has set the pace for the introduction of other cultural groupings to celebrate their cultures.

He also thanked the president for championing youth empowerment in the country.

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