The tribe’s festivity is observed every month of October
* Given 48 hours as of July 1 and failure to comply with the demand will leave them with no any other option than taking unspecified action within legal parameters
* Silrage Phiri is accused to have made accusations against Lhomwe’s which are unfounded, antagonistic
* A deliberate attempt to incite tribal and cultural hatred in a nation that has thrived on co-existence from time immemorial
By Caroline Nyekanyeka
On July 1, Mulhako wa Alhomwe demanded an apology within 48 hours from an individual, Silrage Phiri for circulating an audio on social media, which has been deemed that it was aimed at “inciting Malawians into violence against fellow Malawians belonging to the Lhomwe tribe”.
The cultural grouping gave Silrage Phiri to apologize to all Lhomwe chiefs and entire Mulhako wa Alhomwe leadership through written communication and audio message within 48 hours of July 1 — saying “failure to comply with the demand will leave them with no any other option than taking unspecified action within legal parameters”.
The cultural grouping described the “15-minute long diatribe audio as “repugnant and horrendous contents” in which Phiri is accused to have “made accusations against Lhomwe’s which are unfounded, antagonistic and a deliberate attempt to incite tribal and cultural hatred in a nation that has thrived on co-existence from time immemorial”.
“The demonization of a tribe on the basis of political and ethnic extraction is primitive, counterproductive to socio-economic development and further hangs a nation on the blink of conflict.
“Africa is awash of examples where inability to appreciate the power of cultural and tribal diversity led to disagreements that costed innocent people their dear lives.
“Malawi needs not to go through the same route. Malawians are peace loving people. Malawians live beyond the boundaries of ethnicity. Malawians are one, have been one and will always remain one regardless of tribal differences.
“It is absolutely regrettable that the said Mr. Phiri alleged that Lhomwe’s are Blood Suckers, that all the problems in this country are caused by people of Lhomwe Tribe, that all Malawians are victims of Lhomwe’s exploits in different sectors, and that Lhomwes be declared persona non grata in their own country.
“This smacks the perpetration of a culture of character assassination and the hangover of tribal and ethnic alienation that others wish to vent on people that are innocent, peace-loving and development-conscious.”
The leadership of the Lhomwe Cultural Group maintain that theirs is premised “on the foundations of love, respect for humanity and the preservation of the dignity of all human beings regardless of race, colour and ethnic extraction”.
“Lhomwes are proud to have lived with people of different ethnic lines in peace and harmony, as brothers and sisters and together fostering social economic development. Lhomwes are further proud that they even contributed alot towards the significant development of this nation.
“Lhomwes have impacted greatly in economic, agriculture, education, medical, engineering, law and many other sectors of life and they still continue and will keep on without being threatened by ill-minded ethnic despots.”
They further chided the Ministry of Unity and Civic Education, saying they anticipated that it should have been “at the forefront condemning the disparaging remarks, vehemently and categorically rebuking the irresponsible and ill advised announcements that have the potential to ignite tribal fire in the country — Alas, we are greeted with deafening silence”.
“It must be clarified that Lhomwe tribe, just like any other tribe, has no political affiliation. Lhomwes do not entertain or encourage the practicing of politics that thrives on ethnic differences as that is a recipe for national disaster. It promotes nepotism and is retrogressive as it is lacks merit on the basis of its inability to accord people same liberties.
“It is imperative to put matters in an appropriate context. Mulhako wa Alhomwe is an organization founded in 2008 to provide exposure to cultural traditions of the Lhomwe tribe.
Its main focus is to expose children, and people from other tribes and countries, to the ethnic customs (dance, drumming, storytelling, poetry, tribal history, arts and crafts) as a means of promoting self-esteem, creativity and preservation of the Lhomwe tribal customs.
“By preserving a culture, one keeps the traditions, family values, sociological standards and morals, and language,” they said, while underlining that the Cultural Grouping “has noble objectives which include, but not limited to:
(a) To assist government in developing and preserving culture, customs and traditions of this country and to cooperate with other tribes in Malawi and elsewhere in the preservations of African cultures, traditions and heritage;
(b) To play a key role in promoting and safeguarding of human rights particularly that of women and girls in regard to girls education, HIV/Aids, sexual reproductive health, protection from harmful cultural practices and child harassment, including trafficking;
(c) To assist Government in empowering communities through innovations in education, science and technology to mitigate issues of poverty, environment and climate change; and
(d) To enhance unity and cultural diversity through promotion and protection of intellectual properties, genetic resources, expression of folklores, and traditional knowledge.
“In the light of this retrogressive conduct exposed through the voice of Mr. Phiri, it is imperative that the government through the Ministry Responsible for Civic Education condemns the demonic message advanced by Mr. Phiri and his cronies that may have been resonating with his sentiments.
“Let churches, cultural heritage groupings, Public Affairs Committee, CSO’s, international organizations make their responses to the circulated audio as it puts the country at the risk of the cancer of cultural and tribal hatred.
“All Lhomwes, being peaceful as they have always been, are urged to be stronger as ever before. Unity and strength, oneness and prosperity, is never stronger, than when tested.
“Lhomwes take pride in their cultural heritage and will always cherish their values in harmony with people of all ethnic extractions,” said the statement from the Board of Trustees of Mulhako wa Alhomwe.