Former president Peter Mutharika is set to make his first public appearance outside his retirement home next month when he presides over Mulhako wa Alhomwe annual festival
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader has not attended any public event outside his residence in Mangochi since leaving the presidency after losing the court-sanctioned Fresh Presidential Election held on June 23 2020.
Mutharika is expected to be the guest of honour during the three-day celebration which returns after a year-break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to festival organisers, the event will take place at the tribal grouping’s headquarters at Chonde in Mulanje District from October 8 to 10 2021.
Mulhako wa Alhomwe chairperson Leston Mulli said they expect to spend around K150 million to accommodate the people expected to be drawn from across the country, including guests from Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania, among others.
He said: “Though our budget is pegged at K150 million, our intention is to raise K200 million so that people should celebrate to the maximum and fill up last year’s space as you know we failed to organise it because we had no choice but to follow government restrictions on Covid-19.”
Besides Mutharika, Mulli said other high-profile dignitaries include senior chiefs Mpezeni and Mlozi from Zambia.
The grouping had its first open preparatory meeting at its headquarters on Sunday.
During the briefing, Mulli urged people he described as detractors against associating Mulhako wa Alhomwe with the DPP, saying the two were independent of each other.
Mulhako wa Alhomwe was largely associated with DPP apparently because most of its key leaders held senior positions in DPP or the cultural grouping.
On her part, Senior Chief Kaduya said this year’s event would be unique because of excitement from Lhomwe people across the country after last year’s break.
“So far the people have already donated more than 500 bags of maize and almost 70 bags of millet for beer brewing. This is unprecedented,” she said.
The grouping was established in 2007 by former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika and has had the annual event each year except last year.
The Lhomwes are largely concentrated in Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Phalombe, Thyolo and some parts of Blantyre and Zomba.