Chakwera says Malawi must carry on Mandela legacy to develop

Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Reverend Lazarus Chakwera has returned home from South Africa where he had gone to pay his last respects to Nelson Mandela, exhorting the southern African nation to embrace the legacy of departed South African icon.

Chakwera speaking to reporters at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) on his arrival said Mandela’s legacy can help move Malawi forward if its leaders and servants apply the lessons of Mandela, who emerged from 27 years in prison under a racist regime, embraced his enemies when he finally walked to freedom and promoted forgiveness and reconciliation in South Africa.

The MCP president, a former president of Assemblies of God Church in Malawi, said leaders should embrace Mandela’s selflessness, peace-making, forgiveness, discipline and honesty, among others.

Chakwera: Carry on Mandela’s legacy

“Nelson Mandela maybe buried, but his ideals resonate with human struggle,” said Chakwera who viewed Mandela’s body on Friday at the Union Building in Pretoria where it lay in state for three days before burial on Sunday.

“The discipline with which he led his life and South African people to give them freedom is one which we can learn from. We can make Malawi a country for all people and where everybody is valued regardless of region where one is coming from,” the MCP president added.

Chakwera said Mandela “taught us that you we can conquer hatred with love and have a society with inclusiveness. “

The MCP presidential hopeful said Malawi which he said is seeking to rebuild its foundations, “it is possible that we can discipline ourselves and take the obstacles we are facing as stepping stones to the future we all want.”

He said it is against the spirit of reconciliation, forgiveness and love to deny business opportunities to deserving individuals and companies who have fallen out of favour with the incumbent leadership.

“Nobody should be victimised because of change of leadership in government. In terms of development, it is critical that businesses should thrive regardless of who is in government. What we need is to embrace integrity, honesty and faithfulness as characteristics of selfless leadership,” said Chakwera.

US President Barack Obama also used his eulogy at Mandela’s funeral to critique leaders who fall short of the example he set.

Obama said there are “too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.”

“There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality,” said Obama, using Mandela’s tribal name.

Chakwera however vowed to carry on the legacy of Mandela in reality and not talk shop.

Mandela was buried with full military honours in a state funeral on Sunday, concluding 10 days of national mourning.

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