By Chalo Mvula
Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo, on Wednesday laid a wreath at Late Chakufwa Chihana’s grave at Katoto in Mzuzu . The minister also held an interface with famillies of the July 20 victims as in what has been described as a national healing initiative aimed at moving the country forward by healing the wounds of the past.
Mtambo , who was accompanied by Presidential Advisor On National Unity Rev Maurice Munthali said The Tonse alliance government want to make it a priority to respect our National heroes and those who fought for the freedoms of our country. He emphasized that , its a lesson to the nation that respecting the heroes encourages the young and the living to work hard so that them too could be recognized in future.
“Chakufwa Chihana remains our hero , a fearless and patriotic son of Malawi. Its sad that his resting place is not befitting the hero that he is , that’s why I will make sure that government looks at creating a proper heroes acre and also offer a befitting burial for this true son of Malawi” argued Mtambo
Chakufwa Chihana died on 12th June 2006. A human rights activist, pro democracy advocate, trade unionist and later a politician rising to the post of Malawi second Vice President,he is often described as the father of Multiparty democracy after leading the fight against the one party regime.
One social media commentator Grant Chavula commended Hon Mtambo for laying wreath at Chihana grave describing the gesture as historic and worthy emulating “Nothing wrong for Hon Mtambo to lay a wreath at the grave of Late Honourable Second Vice President Tom Chafukwa Chihana, a mañ who laid foundation for our Second Republic to adopt Multi Party politics. Unless someone is myopic and a toddler in our local politics will view this as a waste of resources forgetting what that man laying in grave contributed to this country to be emancipated from a bondage of totalitarian regime for more than 33 years.” he commented.
Later on the Minister had an interface with Families of the victims of July 20, 2011 demos at Mzuzu City Council Offices. 20 people were massacred by DPP regime when they were protesting against increasing arrogance and intolerance and dictatorial tendecies by the then President Bingu Wa Mutharika.In his address to the families , the minister reiterated that July 20 victims were heroes and not thieves as some people had described them . He said the families had cried and been vilified for so long, however, now we have a government that is here to help them heal.
“These people are crying , they have been going through pain and the government has to listen to them in order to start the process of healing “ said Mtambo . He went on to say one of the new government core objective of is national healing. As such , the government is ready to engage and listen to those that have grievances in order to facilitate the healing process. “The nation cannot move forward and the country can not be , united if its people have got wounds- that’s why my ministry and the government is working hard to bring this healing now “ added Mtambo.
Other notable guests on both events were Mayor for Mzuzu City Kondwani Brian Nyasulu, Livingstonia synod pastors and CSO leaders.