Pursuant to Chapter 22: (03), section 4 of the Laws of Malawi, President Joyce Banda on June 22, 2012 announced the elevation of Tumizani Ackim Phiri, who was Traditional Authority (T/A) Mkanda, to being Senior Chief at a ceremony held at Mkanda Headquarters in the western border district of Mchinji.
Exactly two months later, on Tuesday, August 21, 2012, the Head of State travelled to Mchinji once again to preside over the official elevation and installation of the Senior Chief at a colourful ceremony held at the same venue.
Among other high profile people that also graced the event were the First Gentleman, Chief Justice Richard Banda, SC, RTD, Vice President Khumbo Kachali and Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, former Official Hostess of Malawi’s first post-independence President, late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
The Chewa Senior Chief was officially elevated amid ululation, song and dance, with enthusiastic subjects and governing People’s Party (PP) stalwarts, clad in official event and party cloth, beaming with pride.
“Let me express how happy and proud I am for coming and elevating Chief Mkanda to be Senior Chief. I congratulate him for the elevation. I want to thank God the Almighty for the various favours He is unveiling for this nation,” said President Banda, adding that from the history of the Chewa Kingdom in general and the Mkanda chieftaincy, the elevation was “long overdue”.
“Besides, I’ve known Chief Mkanda as a hardworking leader with subjects’ interests at heart. He has been extremely active and instrumental in helping me ensure that mothers do not die while expectant or when giving birth.
“As all of you are aware, I am championing improved maternal health and safe motherhood and I see chiefs as the integral players as they live with the people at the grassroots.
“I am happy that Senior Chief Mkanda takes the lead in issues of maternal health and safe motherhood,” said the President, disclosing that her administration had identified K25 million for the construction of a Maternity Holding Wing at Mkanda Health Centre where the existing one was in a dilapidated state.
The President noted that Senior Chief Mkanda was one of the few chiefs encouraging and supporting maternal health and safe motherhood initiatives and that the Head of State had been working with Chief Mkanda for a long time “even before I became President”.
She said as per the law, the President has powers to elevate or remove traditional chiefs. The President said as a leader, she shall only promote chiefs on the account of their contribution to the socio-economic well-being of the citizens and not otherwise.
“Chiefs must be development minded. Chiefs must lead people in various development activities to uplift people lives besides being the custodians of culture and cultural heritage. “
Local Government Minister Grace Maseko hailed the Malawi leader for the passion she has for the rural people, particularly of Mchinji, as evidenced by the “memorable elevation ceremony”.
“The people of Mchinji had been denied this opportunity for decades and here you are, Your Excellency, hardly a year into office, you’ve considered the people of Mchinji with this memorable gift of senior chieftaincy. We’re extremely indebted to Your Excellency and the people here will reciprocate with incomparable support and solidarity,” said Maseko.
Legislator for the area and Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Rachel Zulu said the area had been an opposition stronghold but with the ascendancy to power of President Banda, the people have the irresistible urge to belong to the governing PP.
“We will support you until the last mile,” declared the eloquent legislator.
The event began with a prayer by Reverend Melekiasi Mugula of African Abraham Church before Group Village Headman Sasu Mwase gave a brief history and roots of Mkanda Chieftaincy.
The Mchinji District Commissioner, Gasten Macheka invoked the Act on Installation of Chief and later Thomas Chigwenembe, Chairperson of the Main Organizing Committee made a statement, thanking the President for her “generous financial and material contribution towards the success of the event” and other contributors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :