Lhomwe Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa has given a lukewarm response to allegations by United Transformation Movement (UTM) secretary general Patricia Kaliati who said the traditional leader is the architect of the movement.
Speaking at UTM launch at Masintha ground in Lilongwe on Saturday, Kaliati said Ngolongoliwa, ‘mwene wa mamwene’ and Muhlakho wa Alhomwe chairperson Leston Mulli were behind the formation of UTM which initially started as the ‘Chilima’ Movement within the governing DPP and lobbied for support to have Vice-President Saulos Chilima as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
In apparent reference to a meeting at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre attended by President Peter Mutharika where Kaliati and fellow ‘Chilima’ Movement members Noel Msangwi and Lewis Ngalande were asked to withdraw their support for Chilima, she told the UTM rally that the chief and the Muhlakho wa Alhomwe chair initiated the movement.
But speaking at his Mtunda Osema headquarters in Thyolo, Paramount Chief Ngolongoliwa, ssaid he does not meddle in politics.
“I have never discussed this issue with anybody. As a traditional leader, I am non partisan. I don’t know anything about this,” he said.
In low tones, Ngolongoliwa said he only meets and discusses traditional and cultural issues with politicians across the political spectrum but does not engage in partisan politics.
“I don’t know why these people are engaging me,” he said.
Recently, the chief was out campaigning for President Peter Mutharika and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party while demeaning former First Lady Callista Mutharika and top officials of UTM.
University of Livingstonia political analyst George Phiri said given the current circumstances where Lhomwe chiefs have willingly accepted to actively participate in politics, it would be difficult to separate the grouping from politics.
Inkosi ya makosi Mmbelwa five and Tumbuka Paramount chief Chikulamayembe of Rumphi have clarified that they have not endorsed president Mutharika as presidential candidate in the forthcoming general election.