Malawi veteran politician Robinson Watayachanga Chirwa dies at 86

Man of the North, veteran politician and former minister in one party state, Robson Watayachanga Chirwa has died,his family has confirmed.

Veteran politician and patriot Robson Watayachanga Chirwa no more

The former cabinet minister, who served under dictator Kamuzu Banda and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) , died at Lilongwe Private Clinic midday on Tuesday surrounded by family members.

He was born on 29 October, 1931.

The family spokesperson, Mayor Chirwa, said the veteran politician had died of hypertension.

“He died today at his son’s hospital –Lilongwe Private Clinic – at Area 10. We are greatly saddened with his death because over the years, this man has been a pillar and a source of wisdom to the family,” said Chirwa.

He served in different portfolios in Kamuzu regime such Minister of Transport and Communication , Regional Minister for the North, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister Without Portfolio (Minister of State in the President’s Office) and Administrative Secretary of the MCP.

Chirwa’s highs in his long political journey includes being in charge of the country in a presidential council alongside his counterparts the late Gwanda Chakuamba, and John Tembo when Dr. Kamuzu Banda was incapacitated and admitted before being flown out to South Africa’s Garden City Clinic.

He went to school at Luwerezi and Loudon Mission (now Embangweni) and then got selected to Dedza Secondary School where he qualified for his full secondary school certificate.

He then enrolled for a teaching course and was posted to Livingstonia Mission in Rumphi where he taught at a secondary school.

Chirwa also studied at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the United Kingdom.

After Malawi adopted multiparty democracy, Chirwa quite frontline politics.

Watachanga Chirwa was also one of the founders and pillars of the Mzimba Heritage Association; a grouping of all Ngoni’s under the Inkosi ya Makosi Mbelwa.

Malawi has lost a patriot who served the nation selflessly, said MCP president and Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera in paying his tribute.

Chakwera said he was “deeply shocked” by the death of Watayachanga Chirwa.

Chirwa is  survived by a wife, six children and grandchildren.

The family spokesperson indicated he will be buried at Yoram Chirwa Village in traditional authority Mabulabo in Mzimba at a date yet to be agreed.

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16 thoughts on “Malawi veteran politician Robinson Watayachanga Chirwa dies at 86”

  1. chipeta says:

    Kent YG Mphepo you are the man!!!!! Please keep it up and pliz write again.
    Lets learn to give credit where it is due. it does not mean anybody who worked under kamuzu is evil, likewise not all who worked with bingu have the evil blood of cashgate in their hands.
    May God forgive us for our backward thinking

  2. Julius says:

    Big ups kamulepo these guys must be born free the late is one of the guys who were beating us during there time of kamuzu and now you telling us that he is a hero hero for what killing innocent people think again but for some of us we can forgive but we will not forget sorry Malawians but lets not call everyone a hero just because he is dead politician must earn the heroism I know that people try to talk good things about the dead that’s why we are pulling this country backwards akakhala wakuba munthu tiyeni tikambe ntchito zake we suffered a lot because of these guys

  3. Madgirls says:

    Kent, you should have realised that the post you have responded to was not from the honourable himself. Read the name again. Are you sure you are busy bursting and responding to satirical names. Nobody can put his real name here. And even if the name resembles someone’s, still treat the post as not coming from that real person. Treat caricature as such.

    Kent wapurika?

  4. Mr Chirwa was a kind man and helped a lot of students from Northern region materially. May his soul rest in peace. God will judge each one of us according to our deeds. No need for judgement here. Pumulani mu mtende winu Gogo.

  5. Tangwena says:

    Fellow Malawians, lets be peaceful and logical. You mean this is the way we should comment on the departed parents. May God reward us accordingly. Rest in peace gogo Chirwa- some of us admire your life.

  6. mtete says:

    As an Educational Attaché, he selflessly assisted me in organising practical training for me. MHSRIP

  7. anthony kachepa says:

    What a loss to us northerners ! I remember when Kamuzu visited Kaweche and gogo watayachanga used to welcome him like this : Ngwazi, Mlongozgi withu wakutemweka, Chilela Walanda Ise tose Tawanthu Wakuno Kumpoto Tikumupokelelani namawoko ghawili ( sp ) Mawoko Umo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gogo Watayachanga never killed anybody under MCP He was only serving the govt of that time !!!!! Infact pple like JZ were after him because Kamuzu liked him so much as Gogo Watachanga was a pricipled
    man !!!!!!!!!!!!! Ndiye ma coments enayo mwalemba concerning gogo are ultra rubbish . May the Soul of gogo Watayachanga rest in Peace–Amen

  8. Kent mutu wako sugwira ntchito konse ayi. Izi walembazi ndiye ukuti zingapangitse muntu kukhala hero? If you personaly know your robson and his sons ndiye basi akhale hero? Does working with kamuzu make anybody a great man? Kent, this is Foolish kind of writing.

    Robson akapume…….we suffered enough under these MCP mafias. Inensotu ndine wamvula zakale and I know what I have written.

    Kodi atumbuka mumasowa ma hero eti! Nkhalamba iliyonse itafeyo basi ikhale hero?

    1. Kent Y.G. Mphepo says:

      Dear Hon. Kamlepo Kalua,

      I understand your feelings about Kamuzu and the one-party system and late Dada Robson Chirwa. I know your political history and I understand why you think like this. It’s sad that I seem to have stepped on your toes. I, however, have no reason for apologizing to you Sir, for having praised the man I consider “a national hero” who, unfortunately or fortunately, was not to you. I still remember that when you Sir, were fighting for multi-party politics in this country, you wanted us to have the freedom of speech and opinion that we are having today. I am actually surprised that of all people, it is one Kamlepo Kalua who is reacting harshly like this for the simple sin of mourning may hero, Watayachanga Chirwa! By the way, I am not a Northerner. So, I have no regional feelings that you seem to have regarding my in my eulogy. Of course, I know the Northern Region political and cultural ethos very well because I lived there during some of my secondary school days. In fact, although I now live in the South, I find it easier to discuss Northern Region socio-political ethos than the Southern Region version or the Central Region, where I come from because many Northerners in politics today, I bumped with them on one occasion or another during my formative years. But, politics was not the intentions of my entry. I only wanted to mourn Watayachanga. And I think that I have a right to do so. Not so?

      Please note that every person, system and institution is like a 1 tambala coin. It has two sides. So is Dr. Banda, So is Robson Chirwa. So, is President Peter Mutharika. So is the one-party system. So is you Kamlepo Kalua. So is the multi-party politics.

      For your information, I have very high respect for you and for sure you will go into the annals of history of this country for the contribution you made during the “Tswee Mwana Tswee!” days in the mid 1990 and the great work that you are doing today – the most recent being your dedication to the fight against corruption in the high echelons of power in Malawi. You are, in your own right, a hero. But, I can assure you that there are also people in this country who don’t want to hear about your name and they would feel angry if they red what I have just written about you above. You see, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder as they say! Only history is a fair judge. When history starts to grind in future, it will show the world who was right about Watayachanga Chirwa between you and me. Unfortunately, Watayachanga, Dr. Banda, Kamlepo Kalua and Kent Y.G. Mphepo will not be alive. We will be long dead. Unless you dispute this fact, I find it immature (timewise) for you and me to start judging one another harshly about what we think about Robson Chirwa, Kamuzu Banda, one-party system, multi-party system, etc because history is no respecter of persons.

      So, yes, My Honorable Kalua, while Chirwa might look like a hero in my eyes, he obviously is not to you. I take no offense at that because that’s normal. No person pleases everybody on earth and no person is an enemy to everyone on earth. This is true about you just as it is true about Watayachanga. I know that many Northerners are mourning Watayachanga but there also many more, like you who are cursing his dead body. That’s what freedom of expression and opinion, that you Sir were fight for, means. It is not fair or correct, therefore, to assume that everybody in the North will hate this “old man” (‘nkhalamba’ as you call him)simply because there are also others who will not.

      I suggest we meet in person at some point and we discuss or debate the one-party dispensation vs. the multi-party dispensation of Malawi politics that you Sir, are accredited for whether rightly or wrongly. We may want to look at the history and impact of the two systems on human life based on human development indicators. I am sure Sir, that you will have learnt one or two things why not everything was bad with people like Watayachanga Chirwa who contributed enormously to the quality of education in this country including hear in Blantyre urban where he was DEO. As you now know, Malawi is currently among the worst performing countries in as far as quality of education is concerned in this part of the world. Shall we not praise Dr. Banda, Robson Chirwa and many others just for that if everything else was bad about them? By the way, shall we ever find a person in history who was perfect?? I have studied history and I have found none.

      However, thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to respond to my posting Honourable MP. Good day. I am on 0888435629. We can talk outside the forum if you don’t mind. But, Robson remains my hero. I don’t need permission from anybody to say my opinion because I am a proud citizen of Malawi and I was there when this man was a leader in this country. Fare Thee Well Watayachanga!

      Kent Y.G. Mphepo – Blantyre.

  9. Meano says:

    In everything that some of you have written here, I fail to see a hero in Robson. Is delivering mail to statehouse heroic? Or does serving the dictator kamuzu banda signify heroism? Akapume basi. Anatizunza kokwanira agalu amenewa during MCP leadership. Mxiii!

  10. Maps says:

    Thanks Mr mphepo for sharing with us some biography of the man. May his soul rest in peace!!!

  11. LOVE LEADS says:

    God the Almighty, gave and now He has taken our beloved Robson Watayachanga Chirwa. He was such a peace loving man. Most of us will remember him well for “Nyale yikuchema vibenene”. God has a say in everything that happens to us. Phepani chomene wina Chirwa. Nkhulira namwe. May the Soul of our Gogo rest in Peace

  12. BIMA says:


    A HERO !!



    R I P MAN

  13. Herea says:

    Rest in Peace

  14. Kent Y.G. Mphepo says:

    Dear Countrymen,

    This is a man who deserves our respect as a nation even in his death. Those who new him know that he was a true statesman. Humble, unassuming and dedicated to duty. He was a man of integrity and real pride to the nation. The last time I saw him, I vividly remember him waving at me and my friends walking from the opposite direction on the road to Moyale Barracks, as he walked up to his house along Chimaliro road in Mzuzu, nearly 20 years ago. He treated his admirers like me with a sense of humility that you see in very few Great men and women in our day. When time came for him to quit politics he did it with a sense of dignity and without putting up a fight. He knew he had been Kamuzu’s “errand boy” (like he used to call himself when asked to talk about his work relationship with Kamuzu) and as soon as Dr. Banda (his boss) stepped out of politics he left the stage immediately. I remember him telling a journalist some years back something like this: “There was a time when, for three solid years non-stop, as Minister Without Portfolio, I carried Dr. Banda’s mail between Capital Hill in Lilongwe and Sanjika in Blantyre on a daily basis by car. And that was before the tar-marked road was constructed. The road from Lilongwe to Blantyre via Zomba was dusty and I would enter Dr. Banda’s office with dust on my suit. This was the most memorable time I had with Dr. Banda. This only shows how Dr. Banda trusted me as his errand boy because this mail carried state matters that only a trusted person could carry.”

    I, personally, thank God for this great Malawian who, from being District Education Officer for Blantyre urban, he rose through the ranks to become a Cabinet Minister. Those of us who grew up in the 60s, 70s, and 80s know what kind of metal this man was made of. Not many people had worked closely with Dr. Banda for a long period of time like Robson Chirwa did since Dr. Banda was a man of high standards and sometimes difficult to work with. It only shows that he understood Dr. Banda very well and he served him to the best of his abilities. In turn he served all of us to the best of his abilities. Those were the days when cabinet ministers sent their children to government primary and secondary schools. I personally went to primary school with two of Aaron Gadama’s children and a nephew: James, Andrew and Aaron Junior respectively. Kale likati lizibwerela dziko takadaliyambilasi iri!! This is the departure of a great man.

    I was also privileged to have known one of his sons, Alfred. We went to the same church in Lilongwe. Another Great Malawi. May the Good Lord strengthen the Chirwa family at this dark hour.

    Fare Thee Well Watayachanga! God Bless Malawi.

    Kent Y.G. Mphepo – Blantyre

  15. MadaMchenga says:

    May his soul rest in peace. We hope he will be recognized like others who have recently passed on.

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