Tempers flared on Friday in Lilongwe when Chewa Heritage Foundation (CHEFO) officials told a news conference which was also attended by the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) and the Malawi Police Service that the people causing havoc while disguising themselves as Gulewamkulu, do not belong to them.
Gulewamkulu has been causing problem in Lilongwe’s Area 36, Kaphiri, Mgona, Ngomani, Mtsiliza, and Kauma.
This prompted the Police unleash their special force who arrested four members in the process.
Irked by the reports CHEFO sent a special team which intercepted another grouping “Gule wamkulu” dancers.
Addressing members of the media, CHEFO Sub-Committee Chairman for tradition and chiefs, Lysan Banda said he was not happy that people from other tribes are the ones tarnishing the image of the Gulewamkulu.
“For example there are four people in the custody at the moment, after asking them we have heard them speaking that they are not Chewas. There is Issa Hussen from Zomba who told us that he is a Yao and a devoted Moslem, and two other Yao people from Mangochi and the last one is Ganizani Chikhasu, a Ngoni from Ntcheu, by the look of things here you can see that people of other tribes are the ones bringing confusion by taking advantage over Gulewamkulu popularity,” said Banda.
Traditional Authority Kalumbu said it is indeed true that the Chewa tradition has clear guidelines on when should Gulewamkulu come out.
“We knew from the start that the Gulewamkulu which is causing problem in town is fake,” Banda said..
Statement by Banda and T/A Kalumba angered the Muslim officials who hit back at CHEFO officials.
MAM officials led by its chairperson for Lilongwe district, Sheikh Ibrahim Hackim Mussa gave all history over how genuine Gulewamkulu has been giving problems in the district.
“Was the group of Gulewamkulu dancers from Kauma which stepped and danced in the Kauma Mosque fake? Was the Gulewamkulu which caused havoc in Mitundu another fake?”he queried.
However, Mussa was quickly interrupted by the T/A Kalumba who said all the issues which the Sheikh was reciting were already dealt with and that they are water under the bridge.
But sheikh Mussa insisted that the problem in Malawi is that people fail to differentiate between a Yao and a Muslim.
“What Malawians must know is that being Yao does not mean that one is a Muslim,” Said Mussa who looked angry throughout the meeting.
Speaking during the news conference Police Public relations officer for Lilongwe Kingsley Dandaula appealed for decorum in the way how Gulewamkulu should be handled.
Dandaula also confirmed the arrest of the Gulewamkulu members.
“They are answering two charges first one is unlawful wounding and the other one is on breach of peace,” said Dandaula.
In September this year some sector of the society asked Government to declare the Gulewamulu a terrorist organisation after the same fake Gulewamkulu had hacked Chikondi Mbewe, 14, after chasing him for a while around their compound and when he and his friends ran into a neighbour’s house to hide, the Gulewamkulu invaded the house and beat up the boys and girls who had tried in vain to take refuge in different places in the house including under bed.
Many people in the locality, especially boys and girls, have been injured by Gulewamkulu as the community was preparing for the installation of village headman Chisuka who is within Area 36, under Traditional Authority (T/A) Tsabango.
The same Gulewamkulu has been found touching breasts of young girls.
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