Paramount chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni Speaking People of Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia has declared that there will be no hosting of the Ncwala ceremony in 2021 due to COVID-19.
The traditional ruler said he has made this decision after consultations with his chiefs and Government through the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Speaking during a briefing held at Mtenguleni today, Paramount chief Mpezeni said COVID-19 has claimed a lot of lives in Zambia and as a result he has decided not to host the ceremony this year in order to safeguard the lives of the people.
“This leadership I have is for the people and without you my people then the leadership will be meaningless. This disease has killed a lot of people, I have decided not to host the ceremony this year because I care about my people’s welfare and I don’t want to be blamed if ever there was any loss of lives as a result of COVID-19,”he said.
Paramount chief Mpezeni said the lives of his subject’s matter adding that not hosting the Ncwala ceremony this year does not mean the end of the Ngoni or their culture.
“We are going to have the ceremony in the future when life is back to normal. I put God first in all that I do and the lives of my people matters a lot. God will give us direction and one day when everything is back to normal, we may have the ceremony,” he said.
Paramount chief Mpezeni advised other traditional rulers in the country to follow the decision that he has made in order to avoid the further spread of the virus.
The traditional ruler commended President Edgar Lungu and other stakeholders for rendering material, financial and technical support in the preparations of this year’s Ncwala ceremony.
“As Ngoni Royal Establishment, we did all we could to prepare for the ceremony with guidance from MOH (national and provincial) offices. We have also taken note that going ahead with the ceremony would surely endanger the lives of many people including our own Ngonis.
“To all my tribesmen (Bakiti), please bear with us. It would not be right to rejoice for three days and mourn or put in danger our loved ones after. I have tried to see if the numbers of COVID-19 affected people would reduce but this is not the case, numbers have continued rising especially in Eastern Province,” he said.
And Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu has commended Paramount chief Mpezeni for making a bold decision of not hosting the Ncwala ceremony this year.
Mr Zulu said that the traditional ruler made the decision out of the best interest of all Ngonis from Malawi , Mozambique and Zambia; but also other people in the country.
“As government, we are happy with this bold decision by Paramount chief Mpezeni. This is good leadership, His Royal Highness cares very much for his people and does not want anyone to die from COVID-19,” he said.