Help Chilembwe’s destitute relatives -watchdog

The sad faces of Chilembwe descendants most of them can not even afford a meal threetimes a day not even decent shelter at Mpelule Village in T/A Chikowi in Zomba

The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation(CHRR) says as Malawi reflects on the selfless sacrifices of late Reverend John Chilembwe on January 15, they want the national martyr be remembered before mere holiday.

“While we appreciate the setting aside of 15thJanuary every year in honour of all the brave sons and daughters involved in 1915 uprising and in particular the honouring of Rev John Chilembwe, it is in the view of CHRR that Chilembwe as an individual is a symbol of resistance against any form of suppression of people’s rights and freedoms,” said a statement issued by CHRR director Undule Mwakasungura.

“ Chilembwe personally sacrificed his life to lead the struggle against colonialism that led to freedom we are enjoying today,” the rights watchdog said.

CHRR says the nation can best honour Chilembwe “by taking responsibility to trace and subsequently look after his remaining descendants, who are currently living in abject poverty at Mpelule Village in T/A Chikowi in Zomba.”

Mwakasungura said “this will be a great honour to him and his soul.”

The CHRR boss added: “Chilembwe descendents need our love, care and urgent support.”

On the other hand, the rights watchdog said Chilembwe selfless spirit in the fight against oppression should remind Malawians that the clergy are always part and parcel of league of guardians for promotion of good governance, safeguarding fundamental human rights, rule of law and democracy.

“Their views therefore on such important national matters need to be respected,” the statement said.

It adds: “ As such if Malawi is to move towards prosperity, the voice of the clergy is paramount. Therefore there is need for the Faith Community, civil society and political players both ruling and in opposition to pull in same direction and stop being enemies of the masses.”

CHRR said it is “disheartening and frustrating”  to note that where the Faith Community has come in to offer constructive criticism to government on matters of national
importance, they have been viewed at as people who are aimed at discrediting the government.

And in extreme cases the clergy have been arrested for airing out the concerns on behalf of the voiceless and marginalized Malawians, the rights body noted

“As we commemorate the life of this noble son of Malawi Rev. John Chilembwe, let us remember that we need to uphold his principles and beliefs that he stood and died for, of respect for others, humbleness, resisting all form of oppression and sacrificing for the cause of the voiceless.

“Rev. John Chilembwe set a road map for our destiny as a nation and the choice is ours.”

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