Paramount Chief Kawinga has ordered immediate closure of all initiations camps in his territory before schools open next week.
The Paramount Chief said traditional authorities and their subordinate chiefs should ensure that all boys and girls are released from initiation camps to prepare for the first term of school, which is expected to start on September 18th.
“I should believe that most camps have closed by today,” Paramount Chief Kawinga said on Saturday while acknowledging that many camps had closed except few that were still operating against agreed terms.
Over the years Machinga has seen camps delaying in releasing boys and girls from camps compelling some chief to close such camps by force and fire.
The delays have compelled children to report for classes second or third weeks of school terms at the expense of their right to education.
The Yao paramount chief therefore said that this was not the first time traditional leaders have spoken against such delays.
“Every year we monitor camps to ensure they release boys or girls in good time for the children to prepare for schools,” Paramount Chief Kawinga added.
He, therefore, ordered traditional chiefs and their subordinate within the Yao territory to close all camps by September 11.
However, the chief commended parents in most parts of the country for allowing their children to undergo male medical circumcision which he said was safe, convenient and in the best interest of children.
He acknowledged mobile male medical circumcision and other outreach clinics that have performed a lot of circumcision among boys during the school holiday.
After the circumcision, most boys were taken to “safer “camps where counseling took place followed by graduation and celebrations.
“Our traditions and cultural practices should not tamper with children education,” Paramount Chief Kawinga said.
The chief has over the past years worked with Zomba based Creative Center for Community Mobilisation (Creccom) on monitoring boys’ initiation.
Many parts of Machinga had overnight parties in graduation celebrations of boys and girls from initiation over the week end.
“I spent about K45, 000 to buy food while in camps, best clothes and food for graduation party for my two sons,” said Ellen Daudi from Lipongo Village, Traditional Authority Nkula in Machinga.