President Lazarus Chakwera has commended the Yao people for initiating the Chiwanja Cha Ayao, saying the cultural grouping has helped tackle harmful cultural practices and child marriages which were rife among the Yao.
He said this yesterday during the Chiwanja Cha Ayao 2022 Cultural Festival held at Mangochi Stadium.
Chakwera said there are no harmful cultural practices among the Yao that are stopping the youth from going to school, owing to the establishment of the cultural grouping.
Said the President: “I have so many things which I can tout as the result of this cultural heritage. But I will mention three: First is the issue of ending child marriages through the elimination of harmful cultural practices. We have now responsible parents who are not sending their children to initiation camps at the expense of education.
“Second is the issue of environment conservation. Through the cultural grouping, we have seen them advancing the issue of conserving the environment and lastly we have seen the grouping preserving their cultural identity. This is good and worth commending.”
Chakwera further hailed the grouping for promoting unity, saying there have been collaboration, peaceful co-existence and good working relationship between the Yao and other tribes.
“This is good and worth support from all Malawians. The attitude of coming together and promote our culture while we advance other social and economic issues is what is needed as a country,” he said
The President signalled his commitment to supporting the cultural grouping to bring Malawians together and develop the country.
Responding to the concern of Paramount Chief Kawinga about distribution of Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) fertiliser and relief food, Chakwera said his government is working towards that to help Malawians.
“The Department of Disaster and Management Affairs is working to start distributing relief food to people facing food shortage in the country. In a week’s time, they will start the initiative,” he said, while failing to respond more on AIP.
In his remarks, Kawinga, who is Chiwanja Cha Ayao patron, commended the people and other chiefs for attending the ceremony, saying the cultural event is not restricted to the Yao.
He took advantage of the event to ask government to support people with AIP and other relief items now because are struggling.
In his remarks, Chiwanja Cha Ayao national chairperson Abdul-Aziz Kennedy Yasin said it remains their aim to hold the cultural event annually to promote their culture and spearhead unity.
Among other notable people who graced the event were Vice-President Saulos Chilima, former president Bakili Muluzi, Speaker of Parliament Gotani Hara, Paramount Chief Mbelwa, Paramount Chief Lundu, Inkosi ya Makhosi Gomani V and Democratic Progressive Party’s George Chaponda representing Peter Mutharika.