20 September 2018

Malawi: Politicians Banned From Speaking At Funerals in Karonga

People in the area of Group Village Headman (GVH) Kalambo in Karonga have banned aspiring candidates in the forthcoming tripartite elections from speaking at funeral ceremonies saying such occasions should not be used for campaign.

Speaking on Sunday during the burial ceremony of former District Information Officer (DIO) Auley Mwawembe at Mkungwi Village in the district, GVH Kalambo said politicians tend to turn funeral gatherings into campaign forums.

"Funerals are not political campaign forums. We therefore agreed that there is no need for candidates or aspiring members of parliament and councillors to be speaking at funerals.

"Instead, the candidates should just provide financial or other forms of support to the bereaved because during funerals, bereaved families need many things," he said.

GVH Kalambo added that the Director of Ceremonies should be the one to announce whatever each aspiring candidate has contributed towards the funeral.

His sentiments came after he noted that the funeral's Director of Ceremonies had included unnamed politicians on the programme as some of the speakers. In the run up to general elections, there is a tendency by aspiring candidates to speak at funerals, outwitting each other with campaign messages underlain in eulogies and in the event that there are several candidates, the politicians turn the funeral ceremony into a political rally of some kind.

Among other areas, Mwawembe was DIO for Dowa, Kasungu and Mzuzu before his early retirement from the civil service in 2014. As DIO, Mwawembe also served as Malawi News Agency (MANA) reporter.

MANA Managing Editor, Frank Nkondetseni, who worked with Mwawembe for several years, described him as a dedicated journalist.

Auley Mwawembe, a brother to District Commissioner for Salima, Charles Mwawembe, died on Friday at the age of 50 after a short illness. He is survived by a wife, three children and a grandson.

Government officials, religious leaders and other dignitaries including journalists attended the funeral ceremony.

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