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 emerged the winner after defeating three candidates who contested for the position, Hudson Chamasowa, Michael Benjala and Felix Katsoka.
On the results from four centers, Chiwamba got 27 votes representing 45%, seconded by Felix Katsoka with 24 votes representing 40%, Michael Benjala with 5 votes representing 8% and Hudson Chamasowa came third with 4 votes representing 6.6%.
In his comment after receiving the message that he has won the elections, Chiwamba said now the time has come to implement campaign promises.
“I am very happy that I have been elected as 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 the time for campaign is over and 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 forget about the campaign and start working together. This is not the time for the campaign. Let us join hands in making the poetry industry here in Malawi recognized internationally,” said Chiwamba.
Chiwamba also called on the government to set up National Arts Council so that the Poetry Association of Malawi should be enjoying the subvention of it. He also said the main challenges the industry faces 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 what he was saying in his manifesto during the 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.