Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have told Minister of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Grace Chiumia to tame her tongue following her recent controversial remarks.
At a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally in Mzuzu on Saturday, Chiumia warned chiefs against working with the opposition saying only traditional leaders who support government will be considered for promotion.
“I want to ask you chiefs, 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,” she said.
Reacting to Chiumia’s remarks, executive director of Youth and Society (YAS) Charles Kajoloweka said the minister should stop making controversial statements.
“We don’t think that chiefs should lose their integrity because they are looking for promotions. It is high time the minister tamed her tongue,” he said.
Timothy Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) concurred with Kajoloweka saying the minister lacks values.
On its part, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said the Democratic Progressive Party government should stop threatening chiefs.
The party’s deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka noted that the DPP lost the October 17 by-elections though the ruling party used chiefs to woo voters which means voters do not always listen to chiefs.
Speaking on the issue, Senior Chief Chikulamayembe of Rumphi said chiefs should have a limit on political issues.
“As a traditional leader, I am the custodian of culture,” he told the local media. “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.”