If ever there is a God, we sincerely pray, please, do away with our chiefs. We can do without them. They are proudly called the custodians of culture. That is the description that has resonated well with traditionalists, those people who are often afraid of modernity and goes back to culture as reference point of maintaining the status quo.
Which culture do they keep after all? Malawi has inevitably been part of significant global changes. No matter how much guard we have had throughout the years, as they say, change still happens. And then, aside that, we have the political side of our chiefs.
Building their influence from a traditional establishment that dates back to pre-colonial era, chiefs have always been victims of powers that be. At one time, the Swahili Arab slave traders used them to get slaves from the interior of Central Africa to the East African market. Christian missionaries went through chiefs and subsequently the colonial administrators. During Kamuzu Banda era, chiefs still retained power, to the extent of judging on treason cases. The same continued with the following democratic governments.
- The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is now in power. Just like other previous governments, the party has chosen to use chiefs for its political aims. With the belief that people listen to their chiefs, politicians have targeted chiefs as a way of reaching to people, especially with a message that is against their political opponents, as noted from recent trends.
On Saturday in Nchalo, Chikwawa, Paramount Chief Lundu of the Mang’anja people in the Lower Shire was on a political outing. In one of his traditional communiques, the chief lashed out against the flamboyant South African based Malawian Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG). He told the people that the man of God is involved in Satanism and harbors political ambitions.
From a philosophical point of view, there is no being called Satan, and Satanism is nothing but a system of belief that mushrooms from the human mind’s controversy of good and evil. And about political ambitions; since when has it become a crime for a citizen to have political ambitions?
Before going into the nitty-gritties, Bushiri;s public relations team was in on time to clear the mist with a press release. In one of the statements Bushiri’s Public Relations Officer, Ephraim Nyondo, writes, “Malawi remains a Republic, not a Kingdom. Our churches will, legally, continue to operate anywhere in Malawi.”
If one looks at Chief Lundu’s recent political rants, it is easy to note the fact that he is one of the ruling party’s operatives. To share the larger picture, for a time, the Prophet has been having a cat and rat relationship with government. His Maize donations sparked subordination reactions from government with other alleging that he is using his vast wealth to vie for a political position in 2019.
Understanding this background, Chief Lundu’s sentiments came from nowhere else. What he talked about Prophet Bushiri lacks substance and not a grain of truth to convince even those who look at the Prophet with suspicion. The ruling party continues to use its old and unfruitful tactics of using errand boys to do its dirty jobs.
So unfortunate that the Chief has chosen to be used by the ruling party for its ends. He has other important tasks to do for his people and means of survival that can elude the snares of DPP. But he has chosen to partake in the political liquor of a party that now and then continues to tell the nation that political insecurity is its number one challenge.
Chief Lundu, the people clapped hands and women ululated for you as you delivered the message your masters sent through you. Some believed you. But as for me, and those of like mind, we choose to clearly tell you that we are old enough to understand the constitution of Malawi, as said by Prophet Bushiri team. As you call others Satanists, have time to also look at yourself. How can a man who is paid to dent other people’s image claim not to be from Satan? We know, you are drunk in political money, and we are not ready to listen to you.
About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a professional speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer