British envoy’s tweet triggers reaction as flood victim kneeling on Chilima feet trending picture draws mixed reaction

A picture of a flood victim in Karonga kneeling on the feet of  Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs, in appreciation for relief food and other items he presented to him and other victims is trending in social media and drawn mixed reactions.

A woman gives a vote of thanks to Chilima the traditional way in Karonga

Men in Britain kneel for the Queen, nobody says a word

British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett said the an unidentified flood victim should have just said thank you to the Vice President  instead of kneeling on his feet.

In a tweet, Tett said: “What’s wrong with the traditional way of just saying thanks accompanied by a smile.”

There was reaction from Malawian social commentators on Facebook who schooled the British envoy that some traditional culture in the country demands that people kneel before an elderly person or a leader in a show of respect to such personality and this is not unusual.

Former British High Commission worker, Lewis Kulisewa, who is now at Competition and Fair Trading Commissionon as Director of Consumer Welfare and Education, took his reaction to Twitter.

He tweeted: “If I [email protected] I would realise that no culture is more superior than the other. I would also recognise that demeaning other cultures is not part of the diplomatic brief.”

Outspoken writer and social media activist Stanley Onjezani Kenani also rebuked the British diplomat for her tweet.

Wrote Kenani on Facebook: “To the British High Commissioner, Holly Tett: every country has its culture. Respectvit.”

He posted two photos to buttress his point, one of King of eSwatini (Swaziland) showcasing dresses see topless in traditional wear.

“Imagine is some ambassador there were to say such a thing does not sit well with her,” he wrote.

Kenani also posted a photo of an official in Britain kneeling before Her Majesty the Queen.

“Men in Britain kneel for the Queen, nobody says a word. We expect better from someone at the level of High Commissioner,” he wrote.

Chilima has been criss-crossing the country visiting those struck by the latest floods in Nkhotakota and Karonga, giving out food, plates, cups, cooking oil, roofing materials, mattresses, blankets and others.

In Karonga North, Chilima brought with him relief items for 750 households, but assured the remaining people that government will swiftly send more aid.

He visited camp sites at Kasantha and Kaporo, both in the area of Traditional Authority Kilupula.

As at Monday, the heavy rains had also displaced over 130 households in Nkhotakota, while in Nkhata Bay, over 20 households and 45 hectares of crop fields had been affected.


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what every one is forgetting is that VP Chilima did not ask the lady to do that. Look at his gesture people!!!! he humbled himself. There are no golden wheel barrows, gloves or red carpet like APM and his wife would do


Thanks to Callista – the overblown Chilima has shown his true colours. He is obsessed with power. Not fit for office of president.

Chilima For President
Chilima For President
Her Excellency Tett is okay to get surprised with this kneeling tradition. However she need not be shocked. Rather she needs to understand that this kneeling as in the picture here is only reserved for those highly respected in our society. The swift response to these disasters by Chilima is very remarkable, and perhaps never seen before in Malawi. You know pretty well how slow moving Malawian authorities are on issues that require speed. Trust me if any government official or Mutharika himself was entrusted with that undertaking, it would have taken ages before the victims were visited upon. Chilima’s… Read more »

Please, Chilima is not a traditional authority. People should not kneel before him and he should NOT allow such stupid cultural gestures because he is a public servant not a traditinal leader like the Queen or Mbwelwa. His swift ŕesponse to disasters is because the DPP government has ensured that resources are there for people affected.

Agenda Setting Theory
Agenda Setting Theory

Who said people should kneel before traditional authorities? Lay lady choose how she wanted to show her appreciation and this is how she did it. why are the rest of you being bothered?.


Ohooo,what I have discovered is that, all those who are condemning the gesture by e woman in Karonga are Thumukaz.Even the way Dr Saulos Chilima gestrure in exchange from the old woman,he belittled himself too,to show he respected her.So you wanted him to kneel!!!If it was a Thumbuka here there was no word of say!!!Kodi mtundu wakudawu ngati makala unakhala bwanji??????


as usual the big headed azungu who thinks there can decide for us how to behave these people are a problem there think there better than all of us no wonder there are always under threat from terrorist

Our cultures also demand respect for elders. I would have given that woman a hand and told her to stand up and just shake my hand. That man kneeling before the queen is being knighted which requires the queen to put a sword on his shoulders. Its a function. But allowing an old woman to roll on the floor because of a bag of maize from govt is plain stupid. Just don’t say culture culture. Culture my foot that’s why we had that fisi defiling kids in Nsanje as part of culture.
Holly Tit

I reported the stupid white bitch’s tweet to Twitter. They removed it.

Agenda Setting Theory
Agenda Setting Theory

Nobody asked this woman to do this it was spontaneous. It was her way of saying thank you.. azungutu pena mumayenjeza. if it was Bingu he could have thrown you out you silly cow.

Angela sakala
The queen Knight knighting a man, who kneels and she conducts the ceremonial knighting with a sword, that’s all culture or a practice of a kingdom, same as Swaziland.we are not a kingdom.. The queen is not a servant of the people, the country belongs to her it is their kingdom, the VP and the govt, the president here are servants of the people, the people are doing this as they are desperate and in dire need, they could or could not kneel to MCP leader or UDF leader if he was to visit and clearly publicising that they will… Read more »
Britain and Swaziland are kingdom, men kneel when they are being given a chieftainship by the queen or king that’s culture..young girls shoeing their briest to nswati is culture maybe not very great practice.. However there’s no poverty involved or natural disaster victims involved or any desperation in the queen men kneeling when being knighted or Swaziland scenario. Our leaders unlike the queen are servant chosen by use to serve us , we pay them taxes they have a duty to stop stealing the taxes and effectively deliver services and effective policy to the poor people who feed the govt… Read more »

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