Malawians living in the Republic of Ireland have paid homage to Malawi’s first multiparty president, Dr. Bakili Muluzi ‘Atcheya’ and conveyed a hearty message of goodwill for the festive season and wished him well for the New Year.
Association of Malawians in Ireland (Amai) chairperson, Happiness ‘Happy Chi’ Mwase on Monday on behalf of Malawians in the Republic of Ireland and representing the Malawian Honourary Consular in Dublin, Irish Catholic Priest Father Patrick O’Malley called on the former head of state, Bakili Muluzi, at his BCA residence in Blantyre to convey the message.
Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times, Mwase, a lawyer and is in Malawi for holidays said she called on the former president to pay respects, convey a message of goodwill from Malawians living in Ireland and as well as to express gratitude for the role he played during the time the country was fighting autocracy through to the years he ruled the country as the country’s first democratic leader.
“Association of Malawians in Ireland appreciate the role Dr. Muluzi and many others (freedom fighters) played during the tyrannical one party state. We recognize the fact that, people like the former president risked their lives for our country’s future. We have democracy because people like Muluzi and many other likeminded Malawians put their lives on the line,” said Mwase.
She said she also conveyed a message of goodwill from Father O’Malley, an Irish Catholic humanitarian priest, who served in Malawi during his active priesthood for a long time and he well recognized as one of the Catholic priests who played a significant role in the development of multiparty democracy in Malawi.
“Father O’Malley, an Irish Priest who has just retired as Malawi’s Honourary Consular in the Republic of Ireland is in every sense a Malawian and he speaks fluent Chichewa, Yawo and Tumbuka and he knows Malawi inside out and is a great personal friend of Dr. Bakili Muluzi and many politicians who were involved in the struggle against autocracy in Malawi,” said Mwase.
Speaking in a separate telephone interview, the former president Muluzi expressed gratitude for the gesture Malawians in Ireland have showed him in wishing him well and emphatically thanked Father O’Malley for his continued support to him and the country.
“History will judge Father O’Malley fairly. He is a great friend of Malawi’s democracy. He fought hard for things to change in Malawi. He put his life on the line knowingly what was happening to others by Kamuzu and his MCP, but he didn’t stop. He continued working with us, supporting us with all sorts and he continued doing so even after he was chased from Malawi,” Muluzi said.
Mwase who said was meeting Muluzi for the first time in her life, described the former president “as very jovial and an open minded man with a great sense of humour.
“Although, I had spoken to Dr. Muluzi on the phone through Father O’Malley whilst in Ireland, meeting him in person was such a great honour. He is a great statesman but at the same time very humble and down to earth. He is a great man,” she said.
She added: “When I was going there, I was tensed up and didn’t know what to expect since it was my first time to meet him. It was intimidating, but once I got to BCA and his secretary and security detail ushered me in, he made me feel at ease and he spoke to me like his own daughter. After I conveyed the messages from Malawians in Ireland and the special one from his friend, Father O’Malley, we discussed a wide range of subjects from development to politics and the Diaspora.”
Mwase said from the discussion she had with the former leader, she could deduce that Muluzi has his heart on Malawi and that he believes that Malawi is going in the right direction but emphasized that it needs all Malawians to take part to develop the country.
Shesaid: “on a lighter moment, Dr. Muluzi jokingly told me to tell all the Matchona’s in Ireland and everywhere else to come back home to contribute to national development. He is a treasure to Malawi and part of our story and history as a country. Now I understand why Father O’Malley respects him so much and why he doesn’t stop talking about his wisdom and his courage during the struggle against one party system of government.”
“My advice to my fellow Malawians is that we should learn to respect our leaders, past or present because every leader is given by God who controls the affairs of men (and women) and we must always remember that God doesn’t make a mistake,” added Mwase who is a staunch Christian and a senior member of Cavalry Family Church (CFC) in Dublin.
Father O’Malley was appointed Malawi’s honorary consular of Malawi in Ireland in the early 2000 by Muluzi and since then he has helped the Malawi community in Ireland in many pursuits such as being a mediator for Malawian students and various college owners in Ireland, getting Malawian Immigration authorities to come to Ireland to process passport applications and he also cemented the link between the Malawi High Commission in UK and the Malawian Community in Ireland as well as the Irish authorities with Malawians in Ireland.
Mwase explained that when she told Father O’Malley of her visit to the Warm Heart of Africa, the aged Priest emphasized that she must without fail call on Muluzi to convey his message of goodwill for the season and to wish him a prosperous New Year.
She pointed out that ’’O’Malley’s wisdom and selfless service to the Malawian community in both Malawi when he served as a priest and a rights campaigner as well his involvement with Malawians when he retired to Ireland puts him as one of Malawi’s greatest friends for gave it all for the service of Malawian people in his both worlds.
“Father O’Malley is a fountain of knowledge and a beacon of hope for Diaspora Malawians in Ireland. He is the one who initiated idea on the need for the formation of AMAI so that Malawians could live in harmony and he selflessly gave direction and advice as to how things could work for Malawians in Ireland. He has been of great help to Malawians in Ireland and without him it would have been so tough. The Malawi Our community will never be the same without his input and help,’’ informed the human rights lawyer.
Malawians in Ireland honoured Father O’Malley for his services to the Malawian community in Ireland on October 24, this year which was at Brasserie 7 Restaurant along Capel Street in the Irish capital, Dublin.
In 1992, when Malawians demonstrated against the Malawi Congress Party under the iron rule of late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s regime for the ill-treatment of the Catholic Bishops and for the arrest of the militant freedom fighter the later Thom Chakufwa Chihana after they had released a scathing but truthful ‘Pastoral Letter’ condemning the government’s poor human rights record, Father O’Malley who was among the Catholic Bishops fueling the wind of change in Malawi was ordered to leave the country within 24 hours by authorities because of what he said to students or in one of his sermons.
According to Mwase, Malawians in Ireland are contemplating on doing a documentary film on Father O’Malley life times and events during the struggle for democracy based on his book titled ‘Living Dangerously.’
“We would like to make a documentary film on the times, events and lives of those who were involved in the struggle for democracy in Malawi based on a true story as told by Father O’Malley. We believe that this is a piece of history that the future generations would need and we want to capture the chronicles of what happened and how it happened in visuals. We also believe that both Dr Muluzi and Father O’Malley are both critical to this project,” said Mwase.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :