A retired politician and longest serving leader of opposition John Zenus Ungapake Tembo on Sunday made a rare public appearance when the unveiling ceremony of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader Lazarus Chakwera as the country’s sixth President.
Tembo—who twice failed to win the presidency—arrived at the venue holding a cane in his right hand while someone held his left hand to aid his movement.
His niece and former official government hostess during Kamuzu era, Mama Cecilia Kadzamira, was also in attendance at Malawi Square within Umodzi Park in Lilongwe which also hosts Bingu International Convention Centre and The President’s Hotel .
“I am very, very happy to be part of this historic ceremony,” said Tembo who retired from active politics in October 2013 when he was succeeded as Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader by Chakwera.
“Power has gone back to MCP,” he added.
MCP is Malawi’s founding party and Chakwera’s win brings it back into power after 26 years in opposition.
Tembo said he retired from his position as president of MCP at the convention of the party and handed over the mantle to Chakwera and trusted him to take the party back to power.
“MCP has been a victim of rigging in elections. I am happy this election was credible,” said Tembo.
“It’s indeed an honour to be part of this history,” he said.
Former speaker of Parliament and veteran MCP politician Louis Chimango also said he was filled with joy to see the party back in the seat of power.
He pointed out that MCP is the oldest political party in the country that was stated by very committed politician late Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda and he laid very solid foundation.
“The solid foundation for MCP is there now and it will continue to be there in the future,” he said.
However, despite that people voted for Chakwera on MCP ticket and symbols, he was torchbearer of the nine-party Tonse Alliance which had UTM Party’s Saulos Chilima as running mate.
MCP was voted out of power in the first post-independence multiparty general elections in May 1994.
Under Kamuzu, MCP operating in a one-party State, had the record of terror, but Chakwera acknowledged that dark past and the struggle that Malawians fought to earn democracy.
In his speech, President Chakwera described the country’s freedom from colonialism and one party system as of no use if the citizens still languish in poverty, tribalism, corruption and other vices.
He said Malawi’s struggle for independence and multiparty democracy was not just to set the people free but also accord them shared prosperity.
“When the founders of Malawi emerged from the womb of the great struggle that birthed our independence in 1964, the dream was not merely for us to be freed from oppression.
“And when their children marched against the one-party state to birth democracy in 1993, the dream was not merely for us to be freed from tyranny,” he said.
“For what use is freedom from oppression if you are a slave to starvation? Of what use is freedom from colonialism if you are a slave to tribalism?
“Of what use is freedom from tyranny if you are a slave of poverty?” wondered Chakwera—a former Malawi Assemblies of God president who quit the pulpit to join active politics in 2013— amid ululation from the mammoth crowd that gathered at the ceremony.
There is much more to be done in the coming years in terms of health, education in as far as infrastructure is concerned and unemployment.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :