President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday led Malawians in commemorating Martyr’s Day with a call for everyone to take part in building a new Malawi to honour the sacrifices of martyrs.
During the commemoration spiced up by a ceremonial guard mounted by Malawi Defence Force (MDF) within the grounds of Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe and also graced by Vice-President Saulos Chilima, the President said the martyrs sacrificed their lives for the freedom the country is enjoying today; hence, the need to ensure a better Malawi for all.
He said: “On this day, it is right for us to come together as a nation in various places across the country, to honour the resolve and sacrifice of these martyrs.
“The resolve and sacrifice they demonstrated to free our country, which is the resolve and sacrifice our men and women in uniform demonstrate daily to protect our country, is the same resolve and sacrifice all of us must demonstrate to build our country.
“I can think of no better way to honour their sacrifice and resolve than for us to build the new Malawi they dreamed of and died for.”
Chakwera said the Malawi the martyrs fought for should not just benefit the present generation, but the next generation as well.
Founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda declared March 3 as Martyr’s Day in his 1974. He said the day was set aside to honour the souls of the people who fought for the country’s freedom.
He is quoted as having said: “These men and women were shot dead in cold blood on March 3, 1959, in August and September 1953 and between January and May 1915.
“If these men and women were killed in more days than one, why pick March the 3rd? You may ask. March the 3rd was chosen as a day on
which to remember and honour those of our people, who sacrificed their lives in order that we may be free, because what happened on that day, 3rd March 1959, resulted in independence.
“The independence that the country got in 1964 was a direct result of what happened on March the 3rd, 1959.”
In his reaction to Chakwera’s call for every Malawian to take part in nation-building, United Democratic Front spokesperson Yusuf Mwawa urged the President to walk the talk.
He said the President has been making the call for unity since ascending to the high office in June 2020, but there was nothing on the ground to show that he is for a new Malawi that is favourable for everyone.
Mwawa said the President should embrace the opposition and move together to ensure nation building and a new Malawi.
Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson Brown Mpinganjira, whose party is the official opposition in Parliament, did not pick up his phone when called for comment.
On his part, University of Livingstonia political scientist George Phiri said it is important to build a new Malawi together for the benefit of the nation.
He said this can be achieved if leaders stop being partisan and focus on nation building. He said leaders should rise above political affiliations in making decisions.
Said Phiri: “We should not dwell on what this party has done or has not done. Those that died for the country were focused and moved as one to help
liberate the country.
“So, it is a call on Malawians to focus on nation building and not party issues. We should be governed by the rule of law and not what this party or that party says. If we go beyond politics, we will build a new Malawi.”
On March 3 1959, at least 31 natives were killed in Nkhata Bay after the colonial government army opened fire. Nationwide, 51 people are reported to have been killed with over 1 300, including Kamuzu, arrested.