This year’s Martyrs’ Day commemorationswhich falls on March 3 will not bring Malawians together in Nkhata-Bay as has always been the case because of the Covid-19 pandemic but President Lazarus Chakwera will address the nation, according to State House.
Presidential press secretary Brian Banda told Nyasa Times that before the address to the nation, there will be “a ceremonial guard mounting” at State House Parade Arena by the Malawi Defence Force soldiers.
However, the committee responsible for the annual event has asked Malawians to pray for the martyrs in their respective churches and homes this coming Sunday.
On the day, Malawians remember martyrs that were shot dead in Nkhata-Bay in 1951 as they were fighting for the country’s independence from the British rule. Others were locked in various prisons while others were victimized in a number of ways.
Chairperson for the committee, Paul Nazombe, told the local media that the event will not take place this year as it will be very difficult to have less than fifty people for a national event.
“It’s true we won’t be able to gather for the event. After consultations, we have agreed not to do it as we have always done. Family members will do some cleaning at the memorial tower and the graveyard,” explained Nazombe.
In a related development, government has pledged to take over organization of the annual national event which has always been organized by family members after contributing money.
During the era of Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Martyrs Day also incorporated the exploits of Late Reverend John Chilembwe of the Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) headquartered in Chiladzulo who also vigorously fought against colonialism.
But during the multiparty democracy, Chilembwe, whose face appears on the Malawian Kwacha currency, was given his own day (January 15) and March 3 was left the rest of the martyrs.