President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera says culture is an important element in promoting peace and unity as well as enhancing social-economic development among Malawians.
He was speaking during this year’s Gonapamuhanya Cultural Festival of the Tumbukas at Chikulamayembe’s Headquarters in Bolero, Rumphi.
This year’s ceremony was commemorated under the theme: ‘Developing education, good cultural practices, togetherness, peace and ending corruption and bribery’.
Despite hailing the importance of culture, the Malawi leader said one way of realising a new Malawi is the need to abolish every harmful cultural practice that impedes on the rights of girls and women such as Kupimbira and Mbirigha.
“We must use cultural festivals like this one to challenge those beliefs. If we leave unsound cultural beliefs about women unchanged, we will continue seeing the destruction of the self-esteem of Malawi’s girls and women which negatively affects their confidence in themselves,” he said.
“I am also disturbed by reports of human rights abuses against our women and girls, and I condemn such abuses in the strongest possible terms,” said Dr Chakwera.
In his remarks, Themba la Mathemba Chikulamayembe the 13th urged chiefs to take a leading role in promoting unity among themselves and their subjects for a better Malawi.
Paramount Chikulamayembe also encouraged all Malawians to preserve the environment as one way of helping the government to fight against climate change.
During the event, the Tumbuka Paramount Chief also recognized 12 clans from his royal family with special badges.
Among the dignitaries were Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga and Chitipa, Inkosi ya Makhosi M’mbelwa V, government officials and some traditional leaders from Zambia.
Gonapamuhanya is an annual commemoration of the arrival of the first Tumbuka King Gonapamuhanya who ruled the Nkhamanga Kingdom from 1780.