President Peter Mutharika on Sunday led the nation in honouring Malawian soldiers who fought in the first and second World Wars.
The President led the way by laying a wreath at the Zomba War Memorial Tower in the colonial capital.
During the ceremony attended by people from all walks of life, including Cabinet ministers, members of Parliament (MPs), senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and war veterans, the clergy prayed for peace and tranquility in Malawi.
The clergy, who included Muslim and Christian denominations, also prayed for the souls of those who died during the wars, the survivors widely called “war veterans” and their families, saying they sacrificed their lives for the peace the world is enjoying.
According to Malawi Defence Force (MDF) spokesperson lieutenant Paul Chiphwanya, soldiers from the then Nyasaland King’s African Rifles (KAR), under the British colonial command, put up a gallant fight in East African countries such as Somalia, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
He said some of the KAR soldiers fought in Europe and Asia during the First World War from 1914 to 1918 and the Second World War from 1939 to 1945.
“Let me tell you that in one specific case, there is a record that 100 soldiers from Nyasaland managed to defeat 3 000 Italian soldiers at a place called Moyale, hence the name Moyale Barracks in Mzuzu in honour of our soldiers that fought and conquered the Italians in that battle,” said Chiphwanya, who was also the director of ceremonies.
He said the Second World War was the deadliest that saw mobilisation of 65 million soldiers out of whom 10 million were killed and 20 million wounded.
Giving a historic account of the events, Chiphwanya said the Second World War involved 100 million people and between 35 million and 50 million people were killed while most European cities were damaged. He said this emphasised the need for the Remembrance Day commemorated annually on November 11 or a Sunday preceding the date, saying that was the day the guns were silenced to mark the end of the First World War in 1918.
Besides Mutharika, others who laid wreaths included MDF Commander General Ignacio Maulana and a representative of the Inspector General of Police as well as Deputy Inspector General (Administration) Duncan Mwapasa.
A representative of the Speaker of Parliament, First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka-Chilenje and Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, SC, laid their wreaths before Leader of Opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera took his turn.
British High Commissioner Michael Nevin and South African High Commissoner Cassandra MboyaneMokone also laid their wreaths together before Chinese Ambassador ZyangQinyang.