Paramout Kyungu, Senior Chief Kawinga support Chakwera’s directive on single national cultural festival

Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and Chitipa and Senior Chief Kawinga of Machinga have welcomed the directive by President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera that all cultural festivals of various tribes be annually celebrated on a single day at the National Day of Unity and Dialogue effective 2023.

Kyungu and Kawinga say this will help in promoting cohesion and tolerance among Malawians of diverse tribal and cultural backgrounds.

In his remarks at the Gonapamuhanya Tumbuka Annual Cultural festival at Bolero in Rumphi district on Saturday, President Chakwera announced that he would no longer be presiding over festivals organized by independent cultural groupings, but a national one where all the groupings will showcase their cultures and traditions.

President Chakwera being welcomed by Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe of the Tumbuka people

“I made it my goal to attend every cultural festival of our people, and today I thank God that I am completing this goal by gathering with you here to celebrate Tumbuka heritage, which will be my last cultural event to attend this year. This was important for me to do because from next year, the idea is to let the different cultural groups in our country each celebrate their festivals on their own, but then on the newly established Day of National Unity, we can have all the cultural groups in the country gather in one place for a national celebration presided over by the President,” said Chakwera.

But the President was quick to encourage independent cultural groups to continue celebrating their heritages on their own.

Chakwera emphasized that festivals like Gonapamhanya are critical, not only as an opportunity to celebrate our culture, but also as a chance to challenge themselves to reform the parts of our culture that need to be modernized.

He said cultural reform is important for growth because it helps nations to move forward into the future.

“Without cultural reform, we can find ourselves holding on to retrogressive beliefs that fuel harmful practices to the detriment of our society. I have no doubt that these cultural beliefs are what fuel corruption in government, where people go in and treat the resources of the country as spoils won in the battle of political campaigns, spoils to be divided amongst the winners.

“I also have no doubt that these cultural beliefs are what fuel conflicts between one government institution and another, because I have noticed that even when I as President appoint people to head different government institutions, often they act like their position is a licence for behaving like they are autonomous and have no need to collaborate with other institutions, which hinders progress on so many projects that require different institutions to work together towards a common goal,” he emphasized.

Paramount Chief Kyungu and Senior Chief Kawinga have since welcomed the decision by the President to have a single day festival for all the cultural and heritage associations.

The two chiefs said this will help in promoting cohesion and cultural tolerance among Malawians.

On his part, the Minister of National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Simbega Mtambo said the presidential directive resonates with the National Day of Unity and Dialogue, which was established to demonstrate government’s commitment towards the promotion of the Malawian national identity, social cohesion, cultural cohesion and national unity.

“We commend the directive of the President and we are ready to implement it. As a ministry, there are a lot of activities on matters of national unity such as dancing competitions, poems, exchange visits just to promote social cohesion, political tolerance and religious tolerance. Actually, we want it to be a cycle – just like an electoral cycle,” said Mtambo.

“Actually, we want it to be a cycle – just like an electoral cycle. And through Tidziwane Programme, we will have a series of activities preceding the day of national unity. And the presidential directive just gives us more authority so that we make this a mega function. The president is not supposed to be a patron of a particular cultural heritage or association, but all the associations,” said the minister.

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