Leader of opposition and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera on Monday attended commemoration prayers organized in remembrance of the freedom fighter Reverend John Chilembwe in Chiradzulu and paid tribute.
Chakwera also laid a wreath at Chilembwe’s memorial pillar at Providence Industrial Mission (PIM).
Born in 1871, Chilembwe led the 1915 uprising against colonialism to attain equal rights for native blacks and promote the upholding of Christian values.
Chilembwe set the tone for Malawi’s freedom and independence which was fully realised in 1964 following the return of Malawi’s first president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
He was killed in 1915 and was buried at an unknown place in Esperanza Estate in Mulanje.
Speaking in Chiradzulu when he presided over the memorial service of worship, President Peter Mutharika described Reverend Chilembwe as a visionary and patriotic leader who worked so hard to transform his people.
“Chilembwe was hard working, patriotic, loving and fearless. A man of high integrity who also fought for the rights of women. We need to emulate his example if we are to advance this nation. National transformation is a collective effort,” said Mutharika.
But leader of political movement Transformation Alliance, Moses Kunkuyu, said on Friday that Malawian leaders have not done enough in lighting Chilembwe’s candle since modern leaders are motivated by values different from those held by Chilembwe.
Kunkuyu said the man-of-the-collar stood and fought for a people and not his family or a particular tribe as is the case today where Mutharika administration is accused of practising naked nepotism.
”We, as a county, need to deal with leadership deficiency and develop true leaders for the next generation; [leaders] who should promote unity and honesty,” Kunkuyu said.
Youth activist Wazamazama Katatu, who was leader of the students body at Mzuzu University, concurred with Kunkuyu, saying current leaders do not inspire confidence in the citizenry.
This year’s service was commemorated under the theme “Embracing God for National Transformation.”