There are names never to be forgotten. President Peter Mutharika on Friday led the nation in a ceremony held in memory of the 22 Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers who died in a tragic road accident on November 2, 2017 at Mapanjira in Mzimba District.
The President, dressed in black and with a bright red poppy on his left shoulder, stood out alone at the memorial pillar erected in honour of the glorious dead at Kamuzu Barracks Parade Square in Lilongwe to lead in tributes as he solemnly laid his wreath.
“One year ago, we met here to bury 22 soldiers who lost their lives while on duty, today we have met here again to remember their lives and to celebrate the sacrifice they made, we cannot forget 22 lives being lost in one tragedy. In short, we will never forget them,” said Mutharika in his solemn speech at the memorial event.
He highlighted that the nation had hopes and dreams in them, saying they were the future of the military in the country.
The President assured the bereaved families that government would ensure that MDF pays them all their dues in time.
Mutharika further assured MDF that as Commander in Chief, he would always march forward with them in happiness and in sorrow as well as in peace and war.
He read a Scripture from Hebrews 11:3-4 before he made a speech.
In his remarks, the MDF Commander General, Griffin Spoon Phiri said the November 2 accident remains the biggest tragedy in the history of Malawi Defence Force.
“As Malawi Defence Force, we were and we are deeply saddened by the deaths of our soldiers who died on a road accident in Mzimba,” said Phiri.
General Phiri said the solders that lost their lives on this fateful day included three instructors and 19 recruits who had just completed their military training.
The Army General, therefore, hailed President Mutharika for showing his love for the fallen soldiers, saying when the tragedy occurred, the president was equally shocked and was the first one to condole the MDF before he declared three days of mourning in honour of the fallen heroes.
Phiri said MDF will continue praying for the bereaved families and urged Malawians to do the same and not forget praying for the soldiers that are abroad on peace keeping mission and other duties.
Speaking on behalf of the bereaved families, Violet Kasonda said although the tragedy happened one year ago, to them, it seemed like it had just happened as they were still mourning.
She said she was hopeful that one day, they would meet again with their loved ones and she commended the MDF for the memorial service.
Speaking on the sidelines of the function, a Malawi Defence Force official disclosed that the death gratuities for the deceased were ready and had already been forwarded to respective district commissioners.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :