Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has apologised to Malawians for MCP’s past atrocities saying to move forward to the future there is need to reconcile with the past.
The Malawi leader, therefore, asked Malawians for forgiveness saying the past is to learn from as the country embraces the present to forge into the future.
Lazarus Chakwera on Friday, while visiting Mpundi and Moto in Mangochi, which are villages that suffered atrocities under Kamuzu Banda’s one party rule, said the country must be determined to face the truth about the past, and right the wrongs in order for it to move forward.
“We must heal the wounds of the past completely; without which we will not achieve meaningful development. Malawi is one and we must therefore have one vision regardless of religion and even regions where we come from,” said Chakwera.
The President added that his visit to Moto and Mpundi villages marked a new a beginning and a new history for Malawi.
“Behold old things are passed away, all things are become new,” said Chakwera quoting the Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:1, adding;
“What happened here must never happen again. I am here to apologize on behalf of Malawi Congress Party, (MCP) for the atrocities that happened here in these villages.
“My heart is open to you and has love for you. Let’s teach each other love. Let’s teach our children love.”
Speaking earlier, Civic Education minister, Timothy Mtambo, applauded the President for taking a step forward to reach out to the political victims from the two villages.
“Countries that appropriately handle transition, develop easily,” Mtambo said.
Earlier before the meeting at chief Mpundi’s compound, Chakwera had visited the home of John Kawajika, an MCP chairman who was allegedly assassinated by Banda’s insurgents led by Henry Masauko Chipembere, before he proceeded to the grave where they interred his remains.
As told by Chief Moto and chief Mpundi at the meeting, the genesis of their ordeal began when John Kawajika, an MCP area chairman was arrested and later assassinated by Banda’s insurgents who were hiding in the area.
John Kawajika was from Mpundi village, but when he freed himself from his assailants, he fled towards the direction of Moto village where he was assassinated as he was about to enter the village.
Government, suspecting that Kawajika was killed by villagers from Moto, who they concluded were supporters of Chipembere’s uprising against Banda, rounded up the village in December 1971 arresting the villagers and jailing them without trial until September 1972.
Chief Moto said during that time about 35 inmates died in prison, women were raped, some homes in Moto were torched or demolished.
It is believed, confided a family member, that Kawajika’s sister, Abiti Maleta, was in love with one of the men from the Chipembere’s camp.
Kawajika, being a leader of MCP in his area reprimanded his sister and asked her to end the affair.
However instead of ending the affair, the seemingly love stuck sibling reported her brother to the rebels who later enticed him to visit their camp.
It was when he visited the rebels that he was arrested and he later on freed himself and ran toward the direction of Moto village where he was assassinated.
Apart from asking people of Moto and Mpundi for forgiveness, and to embrace love, President Chakwera hinted that there is need to have a secondary school in the area named after Kawajika, a descent road to connect the area with Mangochi boma, and other facilities like a hospital.
Chakwera further highlighted the need to compensate the victims of the tragedy.
Chief Moto had also earlier asked for a monument to be erected in the area as a reminder of the past and also to show government commitment to forge ahead with the people from the area.
The two chiefs stood side by side with President Chakwera at the end of the ceremony to signify their resolution on reconciliation.
Henry Masauko Blasius Chipembere was a Malawian nationalist politician who played a significant role in bringing independence from colonial rule to his native country, formerly known as Nyasaland.
From an early age Chipembere was a strong believer in natural justice and, on his return in 1954 from university in South Africa, he joined his country’s independence struggle as a nationalist strategist and spokesman.
After Banda had sacked six cabinet ministers, Henry Masauko Chipembere waged a guerrilla warfare against Kamuzu Banda’s government with his lieutenants, Evance Medson Silombera and Kumphwelula from the mountain ranges of Mangochi district.
Later on, he fled to US and then Tanzania. His legacy as a freedom fighter lives on.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :