Initially,Mulhako wa Alhomwe was a decent cultural concept with noble and upright cultural objectives. Founder of Mulhako wa Alhomwe and former President, the late Bingu wa Mutharika decided to establish the grouping to help bring together people of Lhomwe extraction from all over the country for a cultural awakening.
Some of its objectives were to instill pride among Lhomwes by among other things teaching and encouraging them to speak their language; participate in cultural activities such as dances eating ‘lhomwe food’; remindingLhomwes about their origin; ensuring that lhomwes are adequately promoting Malawi as the warm heart of Africa etc.
It was generally a brilliant idea and I remember there were plans to establish a radio station; to create a Mulhako wa Alhomwe website and an electronic library ( not sure if it came to pass) particularly to help attract young people to Mulhako. It was a bustling concept which enjoyed sprawling representation even among university students. Mulhako wa Alhomwe is supposed to be apolitical, and according to its constitution its mandate is to purely promote Lhomwe culture in Malawi in the spirit of united in diversity.
Since its establishment, the grouping has had several chairpersons such as Ken Lipenga, Joseph Mwanamvekha, Professor Seyani and Leston Mulli. There is however a silent consensus among members that Leston Mulli’s chairmanship has been the worst in the history of the grouping. Since he unceremoniously wrested the Chairmanship from Professor Seyani, things in the grouping have gone from bad to worse in terms of administration and image.
Mulli has been running the grouping like a personal estate. His style of administration is dictatorial; he does not consult and often does not recognisethegrouping’s trustees who constitute the grouping’s policy making body. He often uses the grouping as his power base and as a bargaining chip for business and political deals.
As a result, the grouping has totally lost direction and is currently rocked with divisions among its members. Many founding members are frustrated with Mulli and have opted to take a ‘sit-and-watch’ stance; they are not taking any active role in the operations of the grouping, which is why Mulhako wa Alhomwe is currently suffering an image crisis.
Since it was established, Mulhako wa Alhomwe has always faced accusation of harboring a political agenda behind a culture concept; an accusation that it has always denied. However, Mulli’s political ranting last Sunday atC honde confirmed that Mulhhako wa Alhomwe is a DPP political tool to consolidate its Lhomwe belt support.
The Chewas had their Kulamba ceremony; the Ngoni’s of Mzimba and Ntcheu also cerebrated their culture days, where they strictly barred any politicking including the wearing of party colours because they know culture transcends political boundaries. It was only at Mulhako ceremony where scores of people were in DPP colours and the only one where the air was full of political trash talk led by Mulli.
We may not know why Mulli decided to use the cultural gathering as a platform to attack Chilima over his promise to create 1 million jobs in the first 12 months of his presidency, but his attempt to infuse his ‘attack’ with economic flair only confirmed the adage that ignorance is a disease. His speech was the worst and the lowest moment in the history of Mulhako wa Alhomwe. It would also have been the worst if it was delivered at a DPP rally.