Mulhako wa Alhomwe board of trustees chairperson and businessperson Leston Mulli is dominating the media headlines over his pronouncement at the group’s annual festival at Chonde in Mulanje when he vowed to prevent critics of President Peter Mutharika from claiming any seat or votes in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
Analysts in quotes reported by The Nation newspaper on Thursday faulted Mulli for his remarks and the paper‘s editorial comment said the statement by the Mulhako chair is “politically dangerous” that should be condemned in strongest terms.
“For the record, Mutharika and several of his Cabinet ministers are influential members of the grouping; hence, one would be tempted to ask: Is Mulhako wa Alhomwe a vote mobilisation arm of the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)?” reads the editorial.
Speaking during the 11th commemoration of the annual Mulhako wa Alhomwe festival at Chonde in Mulanje on Sunday, Mulli, who claimed the DPP was in power to stay, said no person who disrespects their elders can prosper.
But commentators have observed that Mulli’s sentiments have potential to create anarchy, divisions and stoke political violence as the country heads for elections.
The paper’s comment said Mulli’s statement has taken Malawi back to the time when there was no political tolerance in the country.
“We would want to remind Mulli that Malawi is in a multiparty dispensation where political tolerance has to be the order of the day,” said the paper.
The leading daily also faulted government spokesman who is also DPP publicist Nicholous Dausi for stating that what Mulli said is his opinion, saying that does not inspire confidence.
“DPP should rise above party politics and condemn Mulli’s utterance. We need not remind them that the 1994 genocide in Rwanda started with careless statement such as the one made by Mulli.
“Malawi is for all. We are one people despite different tribes and it would help no one to create divisions based on tribes,” the paper said.
And in comments reported by the paper, University of Livingstonia based commentator George Phiri warned the DPP that people like Mulli are alienating the party from other tribes.
“Much as we understand Mulli is neither DPP nor Mulhako, his sentiments may imply DPP is for the Lhomwes only,” said Phiri.
Political parties also commented to the story in the paper.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Reverend Maurice Munthali said to associate DPP with the Lhomwe belt – districts of Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Phalombe, Mulanje and parts of Zomba – is to show that they have no regard for others.
Munthali said they have been “vindicated” that the DPP practises regionalism, tribalism and nepotism “because they have allowed Mulli to make these utterances in public.”
People’s Party (PP) spokesman Ackson Kalaile Banda is also quoted in the paper criticising Mulli for tribalising DPP, saying “Malawians should not allow such people to use tribes for political gains.”
United Transformation Movement (UTM) spokesman Joseph Chidanti Malunga also feared Mulli’s sentiments may incite political violence.
“What kind of a country are we going to have if we say the Lhomwe should support DPP, the Ngoni should support party ‘X’?”
Chancellor College base political analysts Ernest Thindwa observed that Mulhako wa Alhomwe cannot be separated from DPP, saying the cultural grouping was formed as a strategy to secure the Lhomwe votes.
And despite the political tone, Mulli has lighter moments and attracted some chuckles across the audience, most of who had tasted the free Chibuku opaque beer and food on offer.
He declared: “We don’t want to have Lhomwe women failing to appease [sex] clients out there. There are some tricks and items to help make your trade as exciting and profitable. Even for men, we have something for you as well. You can have the battery charged up at all those pavilions. Go get some help!”
Mulhako wa Alhomwe was formed on October 25 2008 by late president Bingu wa Mutharika to promote the Lhomwe culture in Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :