‘God is Malawian’ says Catholic priest at Martyr’s Day event

Rev. Sam Ng’oma of the Catholic Church has said God is Malawian. He made his observations during this year’s 3rdMarch Martyr’s Day Remembrance Memorial held in Nkhata-Bay, where about 31 people were massacred by British colonialists on the day in 1959 at the event that started at exactly 11:51am.

In his sermon, the priest said:“As Malawians we should all be with God and remain in God. Someone once said God is Malawian, and so He is of every other nationality. Yes, God is very Malawian as witnessed by our fight for freedom which did not take so long unlike in South Africa during apartheid struggle which was long and painful.

“Even after the Catholic Pastoral letter was issued against the one party state, its effects in 1992 were quick and short.

“Yes, God is Malawian, and He favours Malawi. Even during the wrangle between Malawi and Tanzania, your Excellency, no blood will be shed because in Jesus Christ we shall be saved as God is Malawian,” he said.

President Banda and the First Gentleman lays a wreath on the martys memorial pillar in Nkhatan Bay
President Banda and the First Gentleman lays a wreath on the martys memorial pillar in Nkhatan Bay

“Metal is as strong when alone but becomes soft when it is torched. In school, we were told about evaporation where clouds must be greater than water as they control the rainfall. Likewise, we have stronger people in the villages who are very strong and are feared – but they and we all end up in the grave. Just as fear is strong, rest is stronger than fear as it overpowers it when even those in fear succumb to rest through sleep,” adding at this time of Lent, we should all know and remember that Jesus said we shall all be in paradise.

President Joyce Banda led Malawians in Nkhata-Bay as the country commemorates Martyr’s Day and the northern lakeshore district of Malawi has been chosen due to its significant role in the start of the fight for freedom from British colonial rule.

About 27 men and four women, three of whom were pregnant, were murdered on 3rd march 1959 by the colonial regime when they protested against ill-treatment of the natives, causing an uprising that saw Malawi attain its freedom in 1964 on 6th July.

The group was protesting the arrest of founder and first president of the Malawi Republic, the late Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda the same day alongside hundreds of other African nationalists in Operation Sunrise.

The arrests followed allegations the natives planned a massacre of all Europeans in the former British colony.

Banda, accompanied by her husband, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, who also comes from the same district, was taken to the scene of the killing near the jetty/dock on the shores of Lake Malawi, where soldiers from the 3rd Battalion of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) performed solemn drills, rifles facing down, in respect of the people that lost their lives in the struggle.

She led in laying of wreaths at the epitaph in the place that is now called the Memorial Garden, where the massacred were buried in unmarked graves.

Traditional Authority Mkumbira said he wished that the Head of State should always be at such a function, which is very important, and the people of Nkhata Bay have been highly honored as the event of 1959 is key to Malawi’s freedom.

“The deceased families would like to have an audience with the president so too the chiefs. Our strong wish is to have this event a National Monument and we are happy that the ministry of Tourism and Culture are already helping here, including the road to this spot and elsewhere. We pray that they shall also fix the road to the graveyard with tarmac,” he said.

Readings of the day came from Rev. Chapanda Mwale of Assemblies of God, Psalm 122: 1 – 9 (Old Testament) and Rev. K.K. Nyirenda who read from the New Testament’s John Chapter 1: 18 – 2.

Others that offered prayed included Rev. Mphonde Banda of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Sheikh Issa of the Muslim faith. More prayer offerings came from the Anglican Church, and choirs included the Salvation Army Choir, New Apostolic Church Choir, Assemblies of God, Christian Voices, etc.

Some of the 25 known names of those that were killed include, Asiya Simanga, Gomaso Mhone, Andrea Manda, Pongazeru, Lamwell Mhone, Willie Mhone, Achmetal Kondowe, Manasi Zimba, Isaac Kakwata, Kajani Phiri, Harness Banda, Keystone Ngulube, Jimuloja Phiri, Njakala Phiri, Loyce NyaMufumba, Witness NyaBanda, Loyce NyaMtawali, Lizzie NyaSumba, and a Kunowa Nyimba, among others.

The theme of the event was “With God it is possible to build and develop Malawi”.

Important guests at the event include Vice President Khumbo Kachali and his wife, Chief Justice Lovemore Munlo, MP of the Area Simon Vuwa Kaunda, Lt. Gen. Clement Kafuwa, Deputy Malawi Defence Force (MDF) Commander, Mr. Loti Dzonzi the Inspector General of the Malawi Police Service (MPS), Ms. Thandiwe Dumbutchena of the Zimbabwe Embassy and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Speaker of the National Assembly Speaker Henry Chimunthu-Banda, and Bishop Fanuel Magangani of the Anglican Northern Diocese and Malawi Council of Churches vice chairperson.

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