Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera on Tuesday visited and cheered up ailing veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba in Blantyre.
Chakuamba, a former MCP president and leader of opposition in Parliament who also served in the one-party Cabinet under founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda, has been struggling to live a normal life.
In an interview yesterday, Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, said he spent roughly one and half hours at Chakuamba’s house in Chimwankhunda Township in Blantyre.
He said he thought of visiting the 82-year-old veteran and controversial politician to cheer him up following his return from India where he received medical treatment for over a month.
Said Chakwera: “I was informed that he is back from India so I thought I should see him. As usual, he was in a very jovial mood.”
But Chakwera said during their entire one-to-one meeting, the two did not discuss anything regarding the internal squabbles in MCP, the party Chakuamba-led and sailed through turbulent waters of in-fighting with his then deputy John Tembo.
Said Chakwera: “We didn’t talk about party issues, you know he is a respected father and the condition he is in we don’t want to bother him with the stuff that is going on.”
In a separate telephone interview, Chakuamba thanked the MCP leader for paying him a visit.
He said: “You know, in a condition like this when friends and relatives cheer you up it feels good. But his visit had nothing to do with politics.”
Chakuamba is scheduled to fly back to India shortly for a medical check-up.
His close ally, Moses Dossi, a former legislator and Cabinet minister in the Bakili Muluzi regime, applauded Chakwera for visiting Chakuamba.
Said Dossi: “That is a realisation of what Chakuamba is about to the history of this nation. We cannot erase history, Chakuamba is not an ordinary person so I applaud Chakwera for his gesture.”
During his prime, Chakuamba held various Cabinet portfolios under Kamuzu from the late 1960s to 1980 when he was arrested and charged with treason.
He was released in 1993 after the dawn of plural politics and immediately joined the MCP and served in a three-member presidential council that managed State affairs after Kamuzu became incapacitated.
After the 1994 general elections which was won by Muluzi and his United Democratic Front (UDF), Chakuamba became leader of opposition in Parliament. He was later drafted into the first Cabinet of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika in 2004.