Malawi’s hero of multiparty democracy Chakufwa Chihana’s tiny grave in the city of Mzuzu remains a desolate, abandoned site despite earlier government promises to erect a mausoleum befitting the fallen trade union, human rights activist nd served as the country’s second vice-president.
The administration of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika pledged to construct a mausoleum. And after Bingu’s death, his successor, Joyce Banda also said the structure would be built.
But now 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.
The grave stands in mockery of the state-of-the-art national mausoleum befitting a former Second Vice-President.
Chihana’s son Enock Chihana, who is Alliance for Democracy (Aford) president and member of Parliament (MP) for Rumphi Central Constituency, said the family is waiting for government to honour its promise to construct a K400 million mausoleum for the fallen freedom fighter.
“We are just waiting for the construction of the mausoleum. If government fails to construct it,
that is when as a family we can discuss what to do but at the moment let us give government a chance,” he said.
Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa said government has since submitted the drawings and the designs of the mausoleum on how it should look like to the Department of Economic planning and Development “to evaluate everything”.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :