Going by the low patronage at the 2022 Lhomwe cultural festival (Mlhakho wa Alhomwe), many believe the event is losing its glory; courtesy of Democratic Progressive Party’s failure to mount and maintain boundaries between the event on one hand and the party on the other.
Basically, this is a cultural festival for the Lhomwes irrespective of their religious or political affiliation. More significantly, the festival seeks to draw all Malawians closer and make them understand the Lhomwe culture including its norms and beliefs.
Sadly, the past few years have seen the festival being infiltrated by political party elements whose interests were to metamorphise the tribal platform into a DPP organ. This has slowly made people fail to distinguish DPP from Lhomwe tribe.
Fears of turning Mlhakho wa Alhomwe into a political platform has come to pass in this year’s event, when organizers and the patron of the grouping; former President Prof Arthur Mutharika successfully made the following mistakes;
1.Failure to invite the State President
Against this year’s theme: Unity Amidst Diversity, organizers decided not to invite the State President, Dr Lazarus who is actually the Malawi Congress Party President and ofcourse comes from a Chewa background.
Sidelining him directly defeats the theme. One can easily conclude the President was not invited since he belongs to MCP and is a Chewa.
In their arguments; the organizers indicated that they chose not to invite the president in order to save money that the government could have spent on the President and his entourage. This money can be used in other important things, they said.
Interestingly, the same organisers who were conscious about saving money; invited former heads of State Bakili Muluzi and Prof Mutharika. Both leaders use public money in most of their public appearances.
2.Turning the event into a Political battles theater.
Much as everyone knows that Mutharika is the DPP President, the event was not a party platform.
Against all this, Mutharika took time addressing his DPP followers, updating them on a number of changes taking place in the party.
Mutharika further used the platform to attack and those that he believes to be his political adversaries.
Alot of Malawians believe this was wrong because immediately he started preaching DPP gospel, those that have nothing to do with party politics were shut immediately and those from DPP but do not agree with his political views were also taken off.
People expected Mutharika to act as a father, where he could sit side by side with his vice presidents as a father; displaying love and unity, while at the same time staying away from making comments on party affairs.
Llhakho wa Alhomwe organizers must make sure they distance the festival from party politics, otherwise the event is losing its salt by the day.