UTM executive member and close ally of Vice President Saulos Chilima, Hellen Chabunya, has claimed that there is tribalism and nepotism in the Malawi National Netball Team because the team is full of northerners.
In a recent Facebook post, Chabunya shared an image of the Queens’ line-up for a world cup qualifier and noted that the team is coached by Peace Chawinga and has players from the North.
The line-up had seven players including Carol Ngwira, Towera Vinkhumbo, G. Mwafulirwa, Joyce Mvula and Takondwa Lwazi.
Chabunya suggested that the team is full of Northerners because their coach is also from the same region. She argued that there has been a trend that when a boss is from a specific region, the whole office will be from that region as well.
“Look at the surnames and let’s soberly discuss nepotism and tribalism in the workplace.
“This practice is bad and must be condemned. It is not ok when anyone from any tribe or political grouping advantages others solely from where they come from.
“Izi ayi ku Malawi no no (we reject this in Malawi). Big red card,” she said and urged Netball Association of Malawi to take action.
Her post, which has now been deleted, has seen her trending on social media with many social media users condemning her remarks.
Lawyer David Kanyenda has since demanded Chabunya to apologise to the Queens coach and players.
In his Facebook post, Kanyenda noted that Peace Chawinga, when she was a player, featured alongside the Waya sisters – Mary and Emmie – as well as Connis Mhone, Sylvia Malenga-Mtetemera, Judith Chalusa and Jessie Mwale, amongst many others, and there is no doubt in that she has the requisite credentials to coach the team.
“Some, if not most, of the girls have been involved with the Queens long before Peace was hired.
“Most, if not all, of the girls ply their trade in netball clubs based in the Central & Southern regions.
“A good deal may never have been born and bred in the North at all.
“Others are married to husbands who don’t hail from the North.
“At least one Carol Mtukule is even married to a Ngwira presumably of North Korean orientation.
“As long as they are Malawian, I don’t really care which region, tribe, religion or race they’re associated with.
“There is certainly no basis to conclude that the criteria for selection of the squad excluded sporting merit or that it included nepotistic factors,” he wrote.
UTM spokesperson Frank Mwenifumbo has also condemned Chabunya for her remarks which he has described as nepotistic.
“Hellen Chabunya is my learned colleague in the Party and I have always respected her opinion in the political discourse of our country. I am , however , taken a back with her nepotistic comments on her face book page , regarding the hard working & dedicated netballers who have tirelessly worked to put Malawi on the map as world champions . It is my hope that she will , for the sake of harmony retract the post,” Mwenifumbo wrote.
Yesterday, Chabunya apologized for her post saying she only wanted to highlight that tribalism has no place in Malawi.
Chabunya then made another Facebook post in which she claimed that her first post has been misrepresented and she is being harassed because of it.
“I have celebrated & supported the Queens and many other Malawians making strides in different fields because they are Malawian first and I will continue to do so.
“I have stood up, pointed out & campaigned against tribalism & nepotism when it was perpetuated by any government or sector in Malawi (past or present).
“Never have I experienced the bullying, castigation, threats, harassment & seen the joy, zeel & excitement of people who were waiting for an opportunity to attack me like today. It was also good to see friends & strangers reach out & engage constructively on the same,” she wrote.
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