The Chiefs in Rumphi have demanded an apology from Livingstonia Synod Moderator Reverend Douglas Chipofya and the Church’s General Secretary Reverend Nyondo over chaotic scenes that nearly disrupted the funeral ceremony of Paramount Chief Chikulamayemba at Bolero in Rumphi on Tuesday.
The whole sage started when Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa who spoke on behalf of President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika nly acknowledged the presence of the Speaker, Cabinet ministers and traditional leaders, among others.
He never mentioned the State Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima, main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera or Khumbo Kachali, former Vice President.
The synod leadership accused government of sidelining other political leaders.
Immediately after taking over the programme, a visibly fired up synod moderator the Reverend Douglas Chipofya announced that Nyondo, Chakwera and Chilima would speak before the church section of the ceremony. His announcement drew applause from sections of the mourners.
He said: “If the GS [Nyondo] does not speak, it means the Synod of Livingstonia has not spoken and that is unheard of.”
Chipofya’s announcement stirred panic and Mutharika was seen conferring with an aide before two traditional leaders, including group village head Kazamawe moved in to seized the microphone from Chipofya, stating that protocol does not allow anyone to speak after the President.
At this point, Nyondo emotionally threatened that his church would not proceed with the funeral programme and declared that the chiefs carry over.
It took the intervention of the Acting Chief who calm down the situation at the funeral.
In a letter addressed to Reverend Nyondo copied to Chief Secretary to President Lloyd Muhara, the Chiefs have condemned the Synod’s act, describing it as uncalled for.
“We would like to strongly condemn what happened during the funeral service of our beloved Chief as rudely displayed in the character of Rev.Levi Nyondo and Rev Douglas Chipofya who are General Secretary and Moderator of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia respectively.
“We did not like the conduct of the two Synod officials for dishonoring our late Paramount Chief by causing confusion and chaos during the funeral service,” reads in part the letter signed by Chief Principal Group Village Headman Kabazamawe and three others.
Added the letter: “The funeral ceremony was a State event and as such it is the family in collaboration with the State to decide on who should speak and who should not at the funeral. Their conduct only displayed that they went beyond their role and responsibility as a church on a funeral of a great a King of the Tumbuka. The two Synod leaders, Nyondo and Chipofya dishonored our chief and we demand an unconditional apology from them.
“We would like to call upon Mr Nyondo and Mr Chipofya to explain why they thought of demeaning the Chikulamayembe Chieftaincy as well as the entire Tumbuka culture in such an embarrassing manner in the presence of the leader of the Country. Does it mean they do not value and respect authority? It is our strong belief that even you yourselves in your own church set-up you appropriately respect the laid down authority.”
The Cheifs have since advised the two leaders, that if there are any outstanding issues between them and the Head of State, they should seek an amicable way of resolving such matters other than utilizing the sacred platforms as the burial of a renowned Tumbuka King.