Malawi Govt to construct mausoleum for pro-democrcay activist Chihana

Construction of the long awaited mausoleum for one of the architects of the country’s multiparty democracy late Tom Chakufwa Chihana has received cabinet approval and the work will start soon at his cemetery in Mzuzu City.

Late Chihana, who championed the fight against the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s autocratic rule in 1992 after the Catholic Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter titled ‘Living Our Faith’ died of brain tumor on June 12, 2006 in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa.

The construction of the mausoleum was approved by Malawi Parliament some three years ago but lacked political will to take shape until recently when Cabinet approved its construction with funding from the Malawi Government.

Late Chakufwa Chihana: Hero of mutiparty democracy

“Cabinet in August this year approved the construction of late Dr Tom Chakufwa Chihana’s Mausoleum in Mzuzu City with funding from the Malawi government,” Director in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Dr Elizabeth Gomani Chindevu told a newly appointed task force to oversee the process of the construction works.

The members of the taskforce had their first meeting, Tuesday at Mzuzu City Council before visiting the site for the mausoleum at Chihana’s Cemetery.

Dr Chindevu said government was concerned with the current status of the cemetery for the historic Malawian, Tom Chakufwa Chihana, who played a significant role in the democratization of the country’s politics. She said it was for this reason that government approved the construction of the mausoleum.

She disclosed that the design and other formalities were already done and that the construction works will start soon after the 2013/2014 budget allocation is done since its funding will be included in the 2013/2014 financial year.

She said the state of the art mausoleum will also include offices, an information resource centre for the late Chihana and enough space for memorial services among others.

Dr Chindevu said government has also approved the construction of a state-of-the-art cultural centre in the city which will include a museum, an archive, arts gallery and an auditorium.

She told the taskforce after visiting the cultural center site near ADMARC in the city that according to government’s plans, the centers will be constructed in all the four major cities.

The director said that her ministry was currently working on the plans and soon after completion, construction works would start with the Capital City and then Mzuzu before going to Blantyre and Zomba cities.

Dr Chindevu said the cultural centres are one way of promoting Malawian Culture and Tourism. He, therefore, appealed to the city land lords and department of lands to allocate more land that would accommodate the structures.

“Since the much awaited mausoleum and the cultural centre have been approved by government, it is my appeal to the land stakeholders to provide enough land for the two projects,” she said.

Mzuzu City Council Director of Planning and Estates, Alexander Chirambo and Regional Commissioner for Lands for the North, Warter Chalemba said the move by government to construct the long awaited mausoleum and the cultural centre were a welcome development in the city.

Chirambo and Chalemba said the construction of the Mausoleum will not only bring the much required dignity to late Chakufwa Chihana as a freedom fighter in the country, and the Cultural Centre will not only enhance the country’s rich culture, but also add beauty to the fast growing City of Mzuzu.

They said the Council through the Regional Lands Office have already reserved one 1.2 hectares for the Mausoleum.

Late Dr Chihana was the first President of Alliance for Democracy (Aford) before becoming the country’s second vice president in the Bakili Muluzi government.

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