By Taonga Nyirend, MANA
Acting Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe of Rumphi has warned chiefs under his jurisdiction not to be involved in active politics by campaigning for specific political parties.
Chief Chikulamayembe was speaking during electoral stakeholders meeting held at his headquarters at Bolero, which drew aspirants from various political parties, traditional leaders and police.
He argued that campaigning for political candidate was a violation of chief’s code of conduct during elections.
Ironically, the warning comes barely two weeks after media reports claimed that some traditional leaders were endorsing candidates from certain political parties for the masses to vote for them.
Senior Chief Mwalweni, whose area of jurisdiction is in Rumphi North Constituency, is reportedly to have campaigned for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party candidate at a rally organized by minister of Transport and Public Works Jappie, Mhango.
Mhango is the former Member of Parliament for the Constituency in the recently dissolved Parliament whose tenure had covered 2014-2019 period.
Chikulamayembe said chiefs are custodians of the members of different political parties therefore they are not supposed to take sides but rather give them equal support during the campaign period.
“Our subjects belong to different political parties, as such you chiefs are supposed to treat them equally in course of the campaign period. As chiefs again, you are not supposed to openly show your political affiliations or inclinations.
“During this campaign period let us give all political parties and independent candidates full support for them to tell the people what they will do when voted into power,” Chikulamayembe observed.
The acting Paramount Chief added that, some political violence is caused because some traditional leaders serve the interest of a certain political parties, a situation which creates divisions among their subjects.
“When a chief is openly supporting party A, it means that action will not go down well with the subjects who are supporting party B in the end that can be a recipe for violence.
“This is why I am emphasizing that traditional leaders are supposed to welcome everybody in their areas regardless of political affiliation so that communities make informed choices when voting after hearing from all sides,” he added.
He urged the voters to vote for leaders who have shown interest to address the challenges that communities are facing than those who are just looking for their own personal interests.
He added that it is high time women who have shown interest to contest and are capable, be given a chance in the coming elections saying they should not be underrated but given chance as their male counterparts.
“Let’s give capable women a chance in this coming elections because some women have proven to be good leaders. Most of these men we have been choosing have disappointed us therefore let us give women a benefit of doubt this time around,” he said.
The engagement meeting organized by Bolero Women Action Group (WAG) is among activities under Young Women in Active Politics project implemented in Rumphi by Women Legal Resources Centre (WOLREC) with financial support from European Union (EU).