President Peter Mutharika on Tuesday joined Malawians across the country in mourning Tumbuka Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe as he led the nation at the funeral at Chilongozgi Village in Bolero, Rumphi.
Born Walter John Hardy Gondwe, Chikulamayembe succumbed to low blood pressure on Thursday last week aged 86. He died at Mzuzu Central Hospital.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa spoke on behalf of Mutharika and said the Malawi leader was deeply shocked with the death of the Tumbuka Chief.
"The President is deeply shocked with this death, as such he is not in a position to speak at this funeral, hence he has delegated me to deliver his eulogy," he said.
Nankhumwa said the late Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe was not only a chief but also a personal friend to Mutharika.
He described him as a hard working chief who ensured unity and peace amongst his subjects and other tribes besides promoting the preservation of the Tumbuka Culture through the annual Gonapamuhanya Cultural Festival.
"Government has lost an intelligent traditional leader whom government used to assign to mediate on issues of chieftaincies and land across the country and the President is deeply saddened as the country has lost 14 chiefs who included paramount, traditional and sub-traditional authorities," he said.
Nankhumwa then advised members of the Chikulamayembe chieftaincy to follow the Tumbuka chieftaincy succession procedures in identifying the next chief and that government will install him as a paramount chief.
"Government does not choose traditional leaders, we only install a person as a chief following recommendations from members of the chieftaincy family, as such we advise you to submit the proposed
name to government after thorough consultations amongst yourselves," he said.
Nankhumwa then commended the President for having directed his ministry to do everything to ensure
that the deceased got good medical treatment before he died.
Speaking on behalf of the bereaved family, Group Village Headman (GVH) Kawazamawe commended Mutharika for attending the ceremony saying his presence demonstrated true friendship which existed between Mutharika and the late paramount chief.
"Wherever Mutharika met Paramount Chief Chikulamayembe, he used to greet him as a friend, therefore your coming cements that friendship," said Kawazamawe.
The GVH also thanked government for its willingness to refer the late chief to another hospital from Mzuzu
Central Hospital but he died before the referral.
"We will remember him for his contributions to the Tumbuka Tribe and our family. We have lost the pillar
for our family," he said.
Born Walter John Hardy Gondwe on 24 March 1932, he became senior chief in acting capacity from 1968 to 1978 after his father, John Ziwange, was incapacitated by stroke before he died in 1977.
After serving in acting capacity for 10 years, he was installed as a Senior Chief of the Tumbuka people in 1978.
In 2007, late President Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika elevated Traditional Authority Chikulamayembe to
Before attaining the chieftaincy, Chikulamayembe worked at ministries of Works and Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development as a clerk before working at district council as a tax collector.
He is survived by a wife, five children and twelve grandchildren.