Malawi in the diaspora are always hard-working and never miss a chance to relax away from their busy schedules when an opportunity arises and indeed on July 6 they celebrated the 49th independence from British rule with pomp from United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland and Kenya.
In the US, the association of Malawians in the Tri-State Area (MAITA) which comprises of Malawians living in New York, New Jersey and Connectcut, organized the celebrations which took place at the residence of the Malawi Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Charles Msosa, over the weekend.
Speaking during the event, Ambassador Msosa said “We have a lot to celebrate this year. The theme for this year’s independence is ‘peace,prosperity and breakthroughs’,” Msosa told the gathering.
“That’s a loaded theme and it speaks volume of what the country has done all the years that we’ve been independent,” said Msosa.
The Ambassador requested all Malawians to reflect on issues of poverty in general and HIV/AIDS in particular, as they are celebrating the 49th year of the country’s independence.
On the part of the economy, Msosa informed members of the Malawians in Diaspora that significant progress has been made by the current administration to bring back the country to its feet, since it took over a year ago.
“We are all working on this and we are getting encouraged by our Head of State, Dr. Joyce Banda, who is trying to steer the country further to prosperity,” said Msosa.
The ambassador then urged the Malawian community living abroad to take a keen interest in investing in their home country. He emphasized the important role the Diaspora can play in improving the lives of many Malawians back home.
“We must always think about our country wherever we are. We should ask ourselves what we should do to contribute to the development of our country”, Msosa challenged the gathering.
He cited an example where one could contribute a few dollars towards the building of a primary school block they once went to, alluding to the fact that this would allow many children accessing primary education.
In his remarks, the President of MAITA, Clifton Bobe said the association will continue supporting all national development agendas for the good of the country.
In UK the flag flew at full mast at the Westminster Abbey where the Evensong and Thanksgiving Service was conducted on July 5 to kick-start the celebrations. Westminster Abbey is part of the Church of England where many of the Kings and Queens of England and of the United Kingdom are buried.
The Malawian flag also hang at full mast at all Commonwealth Organisations’ premises in London.
The climax of the celebrations in UK was held on Saturday in Manchester city, starting with a family event where football tournament for Malawian teams and a Congolese side was held alongside a netball game.
Then a reception was held in the evening where Malawi High Commissioner to UK, Benard Sande commended Malawians across the UK for holding the events and urged them to celebrate the occasion with a great sense of pride.
The High Commissioner talked about the significance of the day and urged them to continue to exhibit the high level of patriotism and commitment towards the growth and development of Malawi.
Sande reminded Malawians in UK of the need to unite in order to easily deal with their common problems and issues.
He said the Malawi Association UK and other groups of Malawians would play an important role with regard to the welfare of Malawians and improving the communication channel between Malawian citizens and the Mission in London.
In Nairobi, Malawians living in Kenya joined the rest of their fellow citizens festive celebrations at the Malawi High Commission Chancery .
The celebrations were organised by Association of Malawians in Kenya (AMAKE) and the guest of honour was Malawi’s Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, Brigadier General Marcel Chirwa, retired.
“In order to facilitate the development of Malawi, Her Excellency’s [President Joyce Banda’s] government among others is encouraging all Malawians in the Diaspora to contribute to the realization of our development vision,” Chirwa said.
The retired army general who was appointed deputy high commissioner to Kenya in March 2013 said Africa faces severe finance gaps for development, remittances the Diaspora have become as significant as official development assistance (ODA).
“The OECD reported that net bilateral ODA from members of its Development Assistance Committee (DAC) donors to Africa in 2008 totalled $26 billion, of which $22.5 billion went to sub-Saharan Africa. This level of ODA to Africa was at a period when overall assistance (at $119.8 billion) was the highest dollar figure ever recorded,” Chirwa emphasized.
The celebrations were characterized by mainly Malawian music, traditional foods from Malawi, reciting of poems, traditional dances like gule wa mkulu and a cutting of the cake by the guest of honour among others.
Malawi government closed the Malawi mission in Nairobi during the tenure of late President Bingu Wa Mutharika but months after her ascendancy to power President Banda announced the re opening of the Malawi High Commission in Kenya .—(Reporting by Thom Chiumia in UK; Tabia Singano in US and Dennis Chirwa in Kenya, Nyasa Times)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :