There was drama at the burial of Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe in Bolero Rumphi when government is alleged to have stopped Vice President Saulos Chilima from speaking.
According to published reports, the Synod of the Livingstonia of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) demanded that other political leaders be accorded a chance to deliver the eulogies after the speech by government representative, Kondwani Nankhumwa.
Drama at the burial of Paramount Chikulamayembe. Government stops Vice President Saulos Chilima and leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera from speaking.@bnltimes
— Madalitso Musa (@MusaMadalitso) December 4, 2018
Politics rearing its ugly head at Chikulamayembe funeral after differences between government and Livingstonia Synod over who speaks. Government side excluded everyone. Elections are indeed upon us.@bnltimes
— George Kasakula (@GeorgeKasakula) December 4, 2018
Nankhumwa, who is also Vice President of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), spoke on on behalf of President Peter Mutharika who was also in attendance.
Government reportedly told the Synod that “no one speaks after the president”.
Malawi24 understands that this arrangement did not seat well with the Livingstonia Synod who wanted other leading political parties that were in attendance to also make a statement.
While the position by the Synod was hailed by few other Malawians, a majority accused the church of turning the funeral ceremony into a political rally.
“This synod lacks consistency. In the name of peace, you called political parties to refrain from putting on party regalia then you want a butch of politicians to speak…come on kufuna maliro tiziyika mma12 zausiku eti? zipani 52? (Do you want to the ceremony to finish at midnight with speech from 52 political parties)” wondered Feliks Banda.
One person said as Chilima is part of government, it was not required for him to speak.
“I don’t see the reason why Chilima should speak there. He is in the same government that’s being headed by APM and thus whatever APM says will represent them all. Only a few considerations to Chakwera, to speak as a leader of opposition (and not as a leader of MCP)” Collen posted on Facebook.
General Secretary of the synod Reverend Levi Nyondo had said on Monday that political parties will not be allowed to wear party regalia at the funeral ceremony.
As we wrote yesterday, Vice President Saulos Chilima who also leads UTM met for the first time with President Peter Mutharika. However, the two were not seated next to each other as per tradition.
The two leaders have not met or spoken with each other since June 2018 following the decision by Chilima to compete against Mutharika in the 2019 presidential race on UTM ticket.
Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera, United Democratic Front leader Atupele Muluzi, Alliance for Democracy’s Enock Chihana and People’s Party’s Kamlepo Kalua are among other political heavyweights attending the ceremony.
Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe was born on 24th March 1932 and was installed as Traditional Authority in 1978. He is survived by a wife, 5 children and 12 grandchildren.