Remains of modern day fierce and aggressive freedom fighter Chakufwa Tom Chihana is likely to be exhumed from where it is buried and be reburied close to Rose Chibambo’s grave which is designated as heroes acre.
Mzuzu City Council officials have confided with Nyasa Times that Chihana will be reburied at the new heroes acre.
Chihana’s tiny grave in the city of Mzuzu behind Reserve Bank of Malawi remains a desolate, abandoned site despite earlier government promises to erect a mausoleum befitting the fallen trade union, human rights activist and served as the country’s second vice-president.
The grave has a faded Chihana portrait hanging under a falling roof, marked with untrimmed flowers, overgrown grass, and heavy dust settling on the unguarded grave, conjuring an eerie image, especially at night.
An official from the council who asked not to be named because the council has not yet consulted family members of late Chihana, a trade unionist turned politician, said the land where Chihana is buried is grossly encroached and can no longer bury another hero.
“Apart of the land has been sold to an Indian, the rest is encroached disqualifying it to be a heroes acre. “
He said the land where Chibambo was buried was identified just a few days before her burial on Saturday and government officials agreed that it should be the heroes acre for the north Malawi.
Livingstonia Synod general secretary Reverend Levi Nyondo gave the government an ultimatum of one year to develop fully the new heroes acre, saying heroes cannot be resting at a bushy abandoned looking place.
Former president Bakili Muluzi in 2014 donated K1 million (about $2 000) towards the upgrading of the grave site of Chihana.
The late Chihana, is also among 37 individuals and organisations from 24 countries that were awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award since 1984. He got his award in 1992.
On 6 April 1992, Chakufwa Tom Chihana walked into the den of lions when he landed at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) and openly did the unthinkable. He challenged the entrenched Kamuzu Banda’s 31-year-old autocratic rule under the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Effectively, he put into motion, with others, a movement that saw the feared MCP regime crumble; hence entered into the annals of history as one of the founding fathers of Malawi’s multipartyism.
Chihana died in June 2006.
This will be the second time that government will have a state funded reburial activity after mid 1990s when Aaron Gadama, Dick Matenje, Twaibu Sangala and Mr Chiwanga bodies were exhumed and reburied after the then president Bakili Muluzi ordered a decent burial for the three former senior cabinet ministers and a member of parliament.
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