By Wisdom Ngwira and Chonanga Mhone
Tumbuka chiefs from Rumphi have roundly condemned Moderator of the Livingstonia Synod, Reverend Douglas Chipofya and Secretary General Levi Nyondo over their conduct during the burial of Paramount Chief Chikumayembe on Tuesday.
In a letter seen by Malawi News Agency, the chiefs accuse Nyondo and Chipofya for defying laid down programme of events by including some people to speak at the funeral, describing the conduct as ‘rude’.
Copied to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Chief Secretary to Government and Ministry of Local Government among others, the letter demands an unconditional apology from the two clerics for dishonouring the departed leader.
“We did not like the conduct of the two synod officials for dishonouring our late Paramount Chief by causing confusion and chaos during the funeral service,” reads part of the letter.
The letter, signed by Chief Principal Group Heads Kabazamawe and Khalapamhanya, and Principal Group Headmen Kamzinga and Hunga adds: “By continuously interrupting a State-designated director of ceremonies at the burial, the two clerics not only dishonoured the Tumbuka people but also demeaned the country’s Head of State."
The chiefs said the funeral service was a state event and as such, the family and State were to decide speakers at the funeral.
“Their conduct only displayed that they went beyond their role and responsibility as a church on the funeral of a great King of the Tumbuka,” said the chiefs in the letter.
The letter further questions the two synod leaders on why they deliberately ignored the country’s laws by trying to include some people to speak while the President had already spoken.
The chiefs called upon Reverends Nyondo and Chipofya to explain why they demeaned and embarrassed the Chikulamayembe chieftaincy and the Tumbuka culture in the presence of the leader of the country.
The chiefs also stated that they serve the government of the day and that if the two clerics had some outstanding issues with the President, they needed to find amicable way of resolving their impasse other than utilising sacred platforms such as burial ceremony.
“….We advise you that your preaching, as men of God must be led by the Holy Spirit and not by your personal emotions,” concludes the letter.
But in response to the chiefs’ request for apology, Reverend Nyondo refused to apologise arguing that the chiefs themselves admitted to have committed an error by deliberately excluding some people on the list of speakers at the function.
“In short, I can say we cannot apologise to them with a reason. The chiefs themselves apologized to us that they did not do the right thing by not including some relevant people to speak at the ceremony.
To us, that apology from them indicated that the issue was over and no need to pursue it further. We will not apologise to them just because of that reason,” said Nyondo in brief.