President Peter Mutharika and his political foe Lazarus Chakwera Sunday stood side by side for a two minute silence to pay tribute to the country’s war dead at an annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in old capital Zomba.
A two-minute silence took place at 11am before wreaths were laid at the memorial near Cobbe Barracks and Zomba Maximum Prison to remember fallen heroes who fought in the two world wars, the wars that were started due to uncompromising political differences and power struggle.
Mutharika and Chakwera, the leader of opposition in parliament joined political, civic, religious and security leaders in commemorating Malawians -then Nyasas -who bravely fought in the mainly European First and Second World Wars.
At exactly 11 am, all the people, including Mutharika and Chakwera stood for two minutes for that was the exact time on November 11, 1918 when the guns fell silent and First World War was declared over.
President Mutharika sporting a red poppy then laid a wreath as the Malawi Defence Force band played spiritual instrumental music to capture the sombre mood.
He was followed by the commander of the army, General Ignasio Maulana, deputy inspector general of police Duncan Mwapasa, the chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and First deputy speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and opposition chief Chakwera then stepped forward, briefly bowing his head, followed by chief secretary to government George Mkondiwa and the British envoy to Malawi Michael Nevin, among top dignitaries that laid the wreaths.
Religious leaders prayed for peace in Malawi indirectly referring the political struggle between Mutharika and Chakwera, leader of the MCP.
It is said 10 million people were killed in the First World War and up to 85 million in World War II, two wars that never concerned Malawi, then Nyasaland. Late Rev John Chilembwe said it was senseless to force Malawians fight in wars they never understood.
Hundreds gathered along the memorial pillaR, joining veterans as they paid their respects to the fallen.
Elsewhere, Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima and Finance, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe led the similar ceremonies in central and northern regions, respectively.
The Festival of Remembrance began in 1927 and was originally intended to honour the sacrifices of those who died in World War One.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :