Those who thought the funeral ceremony of Paramount chief Chikulamayembe today would unite the country’s bitter political rivals President Peter Mutharika, Vice President Saulos Chilima and Malawi Congress Party President Lazarus Chakwera, were wrong.
It was actually a divisive factor. The clergy tried to right the wrong, but government put foot down.
Except for the clergy, who recognized the presence of each of the three, government main speaker, Local Government Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa, skipped recognizing state vice president Dr. Saulos Chilima and leader of opposition Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
Ironically, only days ago, minister Nankhumwa shook hands with Dr. Chilima in church in Blantyre city.
At the centre of the rivalry is obviously the heated race towards the elections in May.
The high level political rivalry demonstrated at the Chikulamayembe funeral qualifies the scenes on the streets.
Even when the clergy cautioned party diehards against coming to the funeral in party colors, for fear that this would take attention away from the main event, the political atmosphere alone was violent.
The first clergy speaker stunned the audience when he said government single handedly put together the program for the event, leaving out critical speakers at such an event such as the Moderator of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, the Leader of the Opposition and also the UTM president Dr. Chilima.
Ultimately, the whole political shenanigans that took place at the Chikulamayembe funeral ceremony in Rumphi left the president with nothing but shame, with Chilima and Chakwera having the last laugh.