Thursday, March 30

APM nods to Chakwera’s wish on Mpumulo Wa Bata

By Staff Writer:

When President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera presided over this year’s Kamuzu Day Commemorations in the capital Lilongwe about a fortnight ago, many thought it would be business as usual.

This was so because recent experience on the commemorations had shown that those patronising the event being laboured with a series of long ‘praise and worship’ speeches on the country’s founding President, the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

The fact that he was also the longest serving president for the now ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) meant such fears on this year’s function could not have been more real than ever before.

But just like it was purported in the run up to the 2020 Presidential Election that ushered the MCP-led Tonse Alliance into power, the country can take Chakwera’s ‘business unusual’ approach to conducting government business lightly at own peril.

Having passionately sang along the entire national anthem, that has _join together all our hearts as one_ in the first stanza, Chakwera seized the moment to hammer home the messge through his prepared speech.

In it, the President stated it is proper to honor the country’s former Presidents, even in their death. By this, he did not only mean to confine the  honour to the country’s founding President, whose party Chakwera is now leading.

To dismiss any doubts in many a mind flowing through event across the country,  the President publicly did order his Minister of Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi to see to it that the final resting site of yet another fallen Malawi leader, Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika, in Thyolo district, is equally safeguarded, honoured,  and cared for by the government; just like Kamuzu Banda’s is at City Centre.

A charming orator that he has proved to be over the years, many, especially his sworn critics, thought he would just be waxing lyrical “as usual; with no action to follow”, as the critics have been propagating of his presidency all along.

Little did they know of how strong Chakwera’s resolve was towards building a new and better Malawi for all, as he pledged.

Perhaps the President had been bidding his time and on May 14, he felt the time was ripe enough to throw the doubting Thomases off-balance.

The move, as expected, divided opinion with some commentators taking Chakwera’s directive as a way to score political points.

In no time,  attempts were made to throw spanners in the works; typical of a nation that rejoices over a neighbour’s failure in life so much that one wonders whether the line that mentions _envy_ alongside hunger and disease as Malawi’s key enemies was finally plucked off from the country’s national anthen which was composed by Michael Sauka. He must have been divinely inspired to have come with such a piece in the first place.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a party that Bingu personally formed and through which he helped restore Malawi to some of its lost glory during the first decade into multiparty politics, expressed reservations to Chakwera’s  ideas on sustaining Bingu’s legacy at Ndata.

Luckily, the President still commands some respect among his peers and within his Cabinet.

Even the Mutharika family was reported as to have had reservations about the offer; citing the site was much more effective as a tourist destination if it remained to be run by the family Trust as has been the case.

And Usi, known for his proactiveness and being an excellent negotiator, wasted no time. He had an order to fulfill and he had to do it to perfection.

On Tuesday, the Minister personally paid DPP President Pater Mutharika who is also the immediate past President of the Republic Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika at his PAGE House in Mangochi.

In an interview later, Usi confirmed he met the DPP President to discuss issues surrounding the resting place of Bingu wa Mutharika in Ndata,Thyolo.

The Minister, who was also accompanied by senior officials from his ministry, described the discussions as fruitful with the former President.

Just days after Chakwera’s public pronouncement on Bingu’s grave, the Mutharikas, through family spokesperson Shadric Namalomba, issued a statement reacting to the directive that smack of reservations.

However, Usi appeared upbeat after the meeting with Mutharika on Tuesday on the same

“President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika is grateful to the President for the directive to re-engage the family over the Bingu mausoleum.

“He showed statesmanship. There were some issues which we should be able to solve and quickly move forward,” Usi said.

To give some context, the late President Bingu Wa Mutharika was the one who, after more than a decade of neglect by the first multiparty government, insisted that the founding President Dr. Banda’s mausoleum be built.

Bingu, christened Ngwazi for conqueror, managed to construct a state-of-the-art structure just outside Parliament buildings in Lilongwe.

Ironically, the title was first accorded to Kamuzu Banda mainly over his role in fighting the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which he famously called stupid.

The Kamuzu Mausoleum remains a tourist attraction site to date.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: