Patrons gracing this year’s Umthetho have been asked to desist from using the event to score political points.
“It is a cultural event and we don’t expect people to turn it into a political podium. Having said that, we don’t want people to don political party regalia,” said Mzimba Heritage Association (Mziha) secretary Aupson Thole.
He said the event will focus on how culture relates to national development.
He said the three-day festival begins today with discussions on Mzimba’s intangible cultural heritage and how that relates to economic empowerment of its people.
“Our focus will be on marriages. We have noticed that marriages are breaking up at an alarming rate. Divorce has become our new challenge.
“So, we want to discuss how we need to address this, more especially on ensuring that families are empowered economically,” he said.
Thole said recommendations during the discussions will be presented to the M’mbelwa Chiefs Council for adoption.
He said the second day will see chiefs parade (Umgubho) at the tomb of M’mbelwa I the ‘father and founder of the Mombera Kingdom. Thereafter, Inkosi ya Makosi M’mbelwa V will lead participants up the Hora Mountain for a feast.
The climax will be on Saturday where the State president will be present.
There will also be dignitaries from South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that Mutharika will attend the event among other official engagements in the Northern Region.
“He was invited by organisers and has decided to honour the invitation,” he said. n