President Lazarus Chakwera has urged Malawians to emulate the patriotism and hardworking spirit the Reverend John Chilembwe demonstrated during his time if the country is to achieve the Malawi 2063 development blueprint.
The President said this on Saturday when he presided over John Chilembwe Memorial Service at Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) in Chiradzulu.
He observed that Chilembwe’s life teaches Malawians that a decolonised mindset is not afraid to challenge and oppose foreign ideas that have impoverished the country.
Said Chakwera: “John Chilembwe teaches us that we must never allow those superiority complexes against our country, our people, and our ideas to go unchallenged. In fact, we must never allow ourselves to be used by foreign agents as pawns to destroy our country and betray our people.
“We must never allow ourselves to join the bandwagon of those who find it trendy and fashionable to mock this country, malign this country, slander this country, rob this country, or to give up on this country.”
He also faulted some civil servants who he claimed deliberately frustrate government’s projects to make the President to be seen as a failure.
The President was reacting to Chiradzulu Central legislator MacTimes Malowa who said about 82 percent of Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) beneficiaries in the area are yet to redeem subsidised farm inputs despite that most maize will start tussling in two weeks’ time.
Said Chakwera: “There are some crooks that play with computers and steal from locals so that when there is hunger in this country and that Chakwera must be seen as a failure. Chakwera will not fail, you will be disgraced.
“Let’s be patriotic, love our villages and our people. When we are in our offices in government, let us not do things that can destroy our country.”
On his part, Vice-President Saulos Chilima said Malawians value the contribution Chilembwe made to the country.
He said Malawi must always cherish and honour Chilembwe and other freedom fighters who shed blood for the country’s freedom.
Said Chilima: “Regardless of which corner of this country these freedom fighters came from or what language they spoke, they were all connected by their unyielding belief that they could make something greater out of this nation.
“Through their earnest and honest efforts, they could guarantee a dignified living to people.”
During intercessory prayers for the country’s leadership, Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) chairperson Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa asked God to remove the spirit of injustice and corruption among Malawian leaders.
In an interview after the service, Msusa said Malawian leaders must emulate Chilembwe’s example who did not want Malawians to be oppressed.
He said: “As leaders, we have to work together as a team to fight corruption. Surely, we will not succeed in the fight against corruption if we don’t change our mind. We have to change mentality to fight injustice in the country.”
In his sermon drawn from Psalms 23:1-6 read by Chakwera, African Baptist Assembly of PIM president, Wilson Mitambo, urged Malawians to seek God, arguing that most of the evils are done by people who seem to be faithful and God-fearing.
Before the start of the service, Mitambo condemned the presence of some political party followers who were in their respective party regalia, saying Chilembwe memorial is a national event.
Party supporters mostly from Malawi Congress Party (MCP), UTM and People’s Party gathered about 30 metres from Chilembwe Memorial Tower where they welcomed Chakwera and Chilima.
But MCP spokesperson the Reverend Maurice Munthali said he had no problem with people wearing party regalia because they did not cause any chaos.
Some notable people who attended the service included Justice of Appeal Lovemore Chikopa, who represented Chief Justice Rezine Mzikamanda, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa and former minister of Information Henry Mussa who represented the Malikebu family.
Government set January 15 to commemorate the life of Chilembwe who was born in 1871 and died on February 3 1915.
in terms of foreign exchange reserves, it flops.”Duty- Free Week is a flop and
Meanwhile, Indigenous Business Association of Malawi president Mike Mlombwa while welcoming the Duty- Free Week, expressed worry over the conditions which restrict beneficiaries to those that purchase the goods within the week.
“The $3 000 limit is fine for a start but we would have loved if those that imported goods and would be shipped into the country within the stipulated week to also be considered. A week is short for some business people to travel abroad, find products and ship them in.
“That said, we believe that the initiative will help businesses to thrive as it comes at a time when economically the country is passing through some tough moments which can lead to business closures,” he said in an interview on Saturday.
Consumers Association of Malawi president John Kapito also backed the initiative as beneficial to local traders and consumers.
However, he feared that if not properly monitored, the initiative might up being infiltrated by unscrupulous businesspeople.
“My request to Malawians is that let us not abuse this opportunity by being agents of some established businesspeople who may hire you and give you the $3 000s to buy them goods. Let this help to improve your lives and businesses,” he appealed.