Low key attendance characterise Chilembwe Day, Mutharika misses: Martyr of Malawi nationalism

President Peter Mutharika conspicously missed from the annual high profile commemoration of martyr Reverend John Chilembwe, an aggressive young freedom fighter killed by white colonialists 101 years ago.

Goodall Gondwe and Muluzi at PIM

Goodall Gondwe and Muluzi at PIM

Goodall paying respect to Chilembwe

Goodall paying respect to Chilembwe

Bakili Muluzi laid his wreath of tribute to Chilembwe

Bakili Muluzi laid his wreath of tribute to Chilembwe

Mutharika was represented at the function  in Chiradzulu at Providence Industrial Mission, the headquarters of Chilembwe uprising by Finance minister Goodall Gondwe who is also vice president for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party for the north.

It is not yet known why Mutharika failed to attend the church service in memory of Chilembwe whose uprising inspired many to rise against the white oppression.

Vice president Saulos Chilima was also not in attendance.

However, the service was attended by cabinet ministers Henry Mussa, Joseph Mwanamvekha and Grace Chiumia and former president Bakili Muluzi.

The theme of the commemoration was rise and shine and preachers read from the Book of Isiaih.

PIM president Reverend Patrick Makondetsa delivered a moving sermon, challenging Malawians to commit themselves to progress, thereby bringing the country to light.


Rev Makondetsa read from the book of Isaiah 60:1-3 and John 8:12 and titled his sermon ‘Arise and Shine as a Nation’in which he called for unity of purpose among Malawians, and respect for leadersas well as  citizenry to be hard working just as Chilembwe  in order to develop Malawi.

“ I look at you, I must not say I am looking at a Christian or a Muslim; I must not say that am looking at a Tumbuka, Lhomwe or Yao, we must look at each other as Malawians, we must all rise and shine to develop this country,!” he said.

“We may not like the President [Peter Mutharika] as a person, but God has put him in that position, and we must respect the presidency. In the same way, God has given us Dr Lazarus Chakwera as leader of opposition, let us respect whatever he say because it is God that has out him there,” he said attracting ululation.

Finance Minister Gondwe admitted that Malawi is facing huge challenges, he said: “The question is, why are we not developed? That is the question that people like John Chilembwe would be posing to us. Why if we have so many people, so many things around us, why don’t we have the confidence that we can do it?

“Success will depend upon us deciding to succeed . There is darkness at the moment, and as the President [Makondetsa] has promised, there will light at the end of the tunnel, and I am absolutely confident that Malawi shall succeed.”

Prior to the church service, government and church officials laid wreaths at the memorial pillar which has names of those who died with Chilembwe in the haste and disorganised uprising in 1915 but had a positive bearing of subsquent uprisings that finally toppled the white colonial rule.

Also missing at the service this year was Leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera, speaker Richard Msowoya and United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi who had their names on the list of official guests at the function.

In 2015, a dozen presidential candidates graced the occasion.

Outside PIM, life was normal except for the mid January holiday with usual power black outs in some areas and dry water taps in other areas.

To the new generation, Chilembwe is becoming more irrelevant to them and the absence of high profile personalities at the service can testify this fear.

Born in 1871, Chilembwe attended Virginia Theological Seminary and College in the United States of America (USA) and returned to Malawi around 1901 (after being ordained as a Baptist minister) to establish the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) in Chiradzulu district.

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19 thoughts on “Low key attendance characterise Chilembwe Day, Mutharika misses: Martyr of Malawi nationalism”

  1. HASTINGS says:

    Its even difficult for me to comment on john chilembwe,because what he did seems to be very uncounterble for their south Malawi.A country full of racism and corruption.pumbavu

  2. Tisiyame says:

    izo ayamba a Henry Mussa zovala cjipewa ndiye ndi za u Savage mapeto.

  3. Bibo says:

    Chilembwe had such a pulsating personality that he created hatred, a cracked mind, and delusion against the colonial settlers in his home area. He had misanthropic beliefs against British colonial representatives like Liston especially.

    Chilembwe’s cause was more revolutionary than a behavioral episodal exaggeration. He solicited revolt with an aim to concur and protect the homeland, but with no justification for butchering who inhabited the land he felt was seized from the locals. His was a protectionist ideology that yielded no good results in the twenty first century. If he resurrected today he would wish he gave more time to the colonialists.

    Many young citizens of this generation feel not lured by Chilembwe’s antagonistic cause let alone his heroic recognition because they haven’t experienced a Malawi that benefited from his revolutionary movement.Instead, it’s a Malawi that seems to have betrayed their citizenry- no jobs, poor infrastructure, poor standard of living, youth marginalization,and limited opportunities.

    Chilembwe was more of a Malcolm X type than a Martin Luther King Jr type in the sense that he never accommodated racial harmony and tolerance. His actions are part of the reasons Malawi is poor today.Did anyone think the British could impart their wisdom and technological knowledge after Chilembwe and company butchered their own? The fact is Chilembwe’s conscience faced malfunctioning and this made him act like a Persian.

    Hong Kong is a perfect example of how patience to allow colonialists to achieve their occupational ambition yields treasure.Ancestors of Malawi had spirits of misfortunes and never acted like benevolent astrologers.The likes of John Chilembwe can therefore not be remembered as heroes of freedom but as the godfathers of backwardness in Malawi.

  4. Winston Msowoya says:

    I would like to patriotically congratulate Goodal Kaiwonanga Gondwe and other patriots for attending a commemoration appreciating Rev.John Chilembwe’s rebellion of 1915 against British colonialism.Indeed,it is high time the people of Malawi and Africa remember this one of the greatest African freedom fighters of our time.He was gallant and visioned fighter and aboveall,God loving believer.While in the U.S.,he was abhorrent seeing African-Americans being mistreated by the slave masters and that was the catalyst for his revolutionary zeal that created an impetus for final revolution in his fatherland.Indeed,such commemoration has come too late,but also it has aroused revolutionary zest for our young people who had been assimilated by unprecedented Kamuzuism.It is sad however that for 51 years of independence,our people must be seeing such things as: Kamuzu Int’l Airport,Kamuzu School of Nursing,Kamuzu Palace,Kamuzu Hwy,Kamuzu National Stadium,Kamuzu Barracks, Kamuzu Malawians.Are we to believe that without this rogue,we could not have dislodged the British Colonialists? What a shame? Go to South Africa,you will just see a handful of Mandela’s effigies,the leader who had tackled the oppressors of his people head on.So why all this Banda humbug? Where does Orton C.Chirwa,the founder and first President of the MCP fit in? Where does Levy Zililo Mumba,the first President of African Nyasaland Congress fit in? How about James Sangala the last President of the ANC? And where does Dunduzu K.Chisiza fit in? Dunduzu Road Block few KM from Mzuzu heading North?Does he really deserve that? For your information,the Congolese people refused to allow the dead body of Mobutu Sese Seko who died in Morocco a decade ago.The same thing with rogue Idd Amin when he passed away in the Middle East,the Ugandan people refused categorically to allow his remains into Uganda but astonishingly,Banda was even provided with a mausoleum after his hands had been drenched with blood of innocent Malawians.Lastly,it is unbelievable that Peter,Chirima and Richard Msowoya,declined to attend the occasion,this is a clear leadership goof and the politics of divide and rule which Hastings enhanced.Wakeup Malawians.

  5. Winston msowoya says:

    Thanks God at last,I have come across the name that I greatly miss in Malawian history and yet,it is the greatest name in Malawian and African history.Indeed,it is not a matter of fogetfulness,but a deliberate stance by the former regime of the dreaded MCP to highlight Banda’s unauthentic political history.Malawi presently is covered with Banda’s names especially in the south and central for instance,Kamuzu Highway,Kamuzu Stadium,Kamuzu Nursing College,Kamuzu Barracks,Kamuzu Int’Air Port,Kamuzu Palace so on and so forth.Malawians,are you dead souls or what? Really,not even a street depicting the name of our greatest and authentic hero of our liberation struggle,John Chilembwe? What has Banda done special to deserve such national acclaim? And what about Levy Zililo Mumba the first President of the Nyasaland African Congress,where does he fit? The reason for that? A Tumbuka,a cancerous or a society incarnate? And how about James Sangala who took over the leadership of the ANC? And where does Orton C.Chirwa,the founder and first President of the later Malawi Congress Party fit into? What has The late corrupt tyrant Bingu Wamuthalika done for the nation to deserve Bingu National Stadium and Bingu conference hall? Should Malawians made to pay his mousoleum for stealing billions of public funds? Why all this Muthalika dynasty’s then? Do you think that without Banda Malawians could not have dislodged British colonialism? Lastly,on behalf of my fellow Malawians in diaspora I would like to highly congratulate enlightened and patriotic leaders who attended the Chilembwe Day at Providence Industrial Mission in Chilandzuru and deplorably,Muthalika and his Vice President did not attend this memorable and historic day and I implore that this must not be end,but the start.ALUTA CONTINUA,THE STRUGGLE MOVES A HEAD!!!

  6. Ayaya kumudzi says:

    Chilembwe s struggle has earned him more wreaths than any freedom fighter but Chiradzulu remains one district with nothing to show for. Just my observation.

  7. Ayaya kumudzi says:

    Anything to show for in Chiradzulu in his honor apart from the name here and there?

  8. Kodi nkulu uyu wayandikana ndi Goodall Gondwe wa Looks akupha ndindani ameneyu?
    the old Man is handsome

  9. M'kanachibwana says:

    Do not comment things that you doesn’t know, here.



  11. Bingiza says:

    I have tried to understand the history of John Chilembwe and his uprising for years and I fail to see any trace of nationalism in that. His religion was not spread either. I wonder if it is national today.
    I wonder, further, if it is necessary for the whole nation to celebrate the life of one known as John Chilembwe. I feel this remembrance is imposed on the large part of Malawi.
    The uprising that was national and needs to be celebrated nationally happened in 1950s and 60s led by the African National Congress cum Malawi Congress Party. The second one, if it may be called an uprising, happened from 1992 to 1994 which led to the downfall of Dr. Kamuzu Banda.

  12. Mwandira says:

    How do u judge it was disorganised and haste?

  13. Chiteboy says:

    Chilembwe our hero

  14. mtenje village Boy says:

    Thanks Dr Muluzi for that your indeed our former president and not like these we have now.keep it up.

  15. 2016 welcome says:

    And someone with his all senses intact but malfunctioning says Malawi as a nation has no Christian roots.

  16. Dissector 1 says:

    I have the same dubiety of what Chilembwe did to receive such an enormous attention, cachet, snob and kudos. I need to be sensitised fully before I make an inverse conclusion. As a matter of fact, I invariably blame the people that fought for freedom as early as 1964. If the caucasian people, i mean the colonialists, should have been left for at least 1990, Malawi should have clinched a lot of infrastructure and developments in general. We should have been savoured ourselves in high velocity motors ways, alluring stadiums and universities. I don’t see any tangible thing that we have gotten after independence except corruption, cash gate, skirt gates, JB self exile gates, homosexual gates, MCP press conference gates and injunction gate, DPP killing and stealing gates and Muluzi UDF Makatani gates. We have just plundered and ransacked our own farm and there is nothing left. I don’t even see Chakwera turning around the tables if given the odds in 2019 but instead fattening his hollow- cheeked, scraggy family and the undernourished MCP.

  17. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    I am not surprised that John Chilembwe is losing relevancy in the younger generations; just one more natural generational gaps, to be sure.
    Everybody is concerned more with bread and butter issues, existential issues, than politics: this concern is so true with the younger people than those in their twilight years, for obvious reasons.
    Regardless, JC will always stay in the Malawi psyche as one of the Fathers (and Mothers) of the nation. JC’s name is legendary especially in Chirazulo, Mulanje and Phalombe. Pa Migowi, pa mlato pompapompa (Close to the current bridge right here at Migowi) is where JC crossed the river, on horse back, no less, as he escaped to Moz. Many of those who lived around that time passed on the oral history. And it is said JC fitted his horse with shoes designed (for deceit) so that his pursuers would think the horse was going the opposite way. Smart eh! He had obviously learned more that just the bible, in America.
    To be sure, JC is Not the only Father of this Nation. Nor is Kamuzu Banda, although he wanted everyone to believe he was the only one. WE have many founding Fathers and MOTHERS. And on this day, we pay respect to all, regardless of their tribes, as the PIM leader has espoused.

  18. gaba says:

    Man awa anathamangisa chitukuko……kuyamba kudula mitu azungu 1915……thats wy malawi is so poor azungu analephera kuzapeza migodi kuwopa kudulidwa mitu…our nebouring zambia,zimbabwe, mozambiq,konse kuli migodi wy not malawi….Azungu omweo akupitisa kukachangamuka kwa america….iwe ukuwadula mitu wy???


    Peter did not go because he is scared of the clergy. You feel me?

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