By Chisomo Phiri
The Poetry Association of Malawi ( PAM) on Saturday September 11, 2021 through the virtual elections elected a multi-award winning poet Robert Chiwamba as the Association’s President replacing Chisomo Mdalla( Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa).
Chiwamba was ermeged the winner after defeating his three fellow candidates who showed interest to contest for the position, Hudson Chamasowa, Michael Benjala and Felix Katsoka.On the results from four centres, Chiwamba in total got 27 votes representing 45% seconded by Felix Katsoka with 24 votes representing 40%, Michael Benjala with 5 votes representing 8% .33333333 and Hudson Chamasowa came third with 4 votes representing 6. 6666667%.
In his comment after receiving the message that he has won the elections, Chiwamba said now time has come to implement all what he was promising during the campaign period for the better growth of the Association.
” I am very happy that I have been elected the PAM president. This is now a time to do and implement what I was promising during the campaign period. There are a lot of things to be done so as to make the Association grow”, he said.
He said now time for compaign is over and the poets should start working together and make the industry recognized.
” Now it is time for us to make things happen on the ground. Let us forge about campaign and start working together.This is not time for campaign. Let us join hands in making the poetry industry here in Malawi recognized internationally”, said Chiwamba.
Chiwamba called on government to set up National Arts Council so that Poetry Association of Malawi should be enjoying the subvention of it. He also said the main challenges the industry face include piracy, expensive performance venues, and expensive advertisement costs saying as President he is now going to COSOMA, owners of venues for live performances and advertising agencies as a solution to the challenges.
” The government should consider us having a National Arts Council which will help the poetry industry go another level. We need have to have our councils like in other departments.”, said Chiwamba.
In his congratulatory message, the outgoing PAM President Chisomo Mdalla( NyamaLikiti) said he is very happy that Chiwamba has taken the position. He said he has all hope that Chiwamba will take the poetry industry to another level.
” Let me congratulate Mr.Chiwamba for being elected the PAM President for the next three years. I have hope that through what he was saying in his manifesto during campaign, will surely help the industry move to another level. We have done our part and it is now to the incoming new team improve where we failed”. said Mdalla.
Robert Chiwamba is a Malawian multi-award winning poet with his most loved Poetry albums, Chanco Munthawi Yanga, Kachirombo and Kwa mayi Chiwamba. He has won six awards and performed in Europe. He has been an ambassador for European Union and UNESCO’s skills and Technical Education Program. He has also performed at all premium festivals in Malawi.
Alongside Chiwamba is Zabuloni Dama ( vice president), Patwell Phiri ( Secretary General), Chikumbotso Kaliati ( Vice Secretary General), Joseph Kadzakumanja ( Treasurer) and Ross Kampaundi ( Events’ Organizer).
The team is expected to lead the Association for the next three years and among other things bring the following changes as stipulated in the manifesto: Building poetry communities around community radio stations, empower, encourage and support private poetry movements, seek help from organizations, conduct at least three physical artist creative writing and branding workshops, securing a plot for Poetry Association of Malawi within 3 years, just to mention some but a few.