Malawi Congress Party (MCP) veteran politician Bazaar Nyirenda has died at age 90, his family has confirmed.
Tall and never shy to make his position clear, Nyirenda, who held several national executive committee positions during founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s one-party rule, owned the first high-rise building in Mzuzu.
Today, there was a sombre mood at the four-storey Bazaar Building, a symbol of the deceased’s nationalism and entrepreneurship which has seen a greater part of Mzuzu built by Malawians themselves.
According to his son Charles Nyirenda, the monumental building—only shorter than Mzuzu court house, Sonda Silos and Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) Mzuzu Branch under construction—mirrored a state of modernisation he might have encountered during his stay in South Africa.
Today, the building, whose decks gets smaller as it pricks the ever-green city’s skyline, is home to a number of shops, including Mzuzu Coffee, another Malawian business whose product and acclaim go beyond the borders of the country.
The “freedom fighter”, who worked as a shopkeeper in the 1950s when natives could not buy from the same counter as Europeans and Asians, succumbed to old age, said Charles.
During the early years of Banda rule, Bazaar Nyirenda held several positions including deputy minister for Local Government, party treasurer and chairperson of Mzuzu City Council.
The principle of indigenisation was very much alive in his retirement to his Bwengu hometown where he breathed his last yesterday around 5am.
Random interviews in Mzuzu show people will remember the deceased as a role model entrepreneur, whose standing is attested by the famous Bazaar Building.
He is survived by 18 children and four wives. His children include NGO-Gender Coordination Network gender activist Emma Kaliya, Charles who works at Sports Integrated Limited and Health Rights Initiative as well as Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda who presided over a make-or-break post-May 20 Tripartite Elections case in which the Malawi Electoral Commission wanted a recount due to massive irregularities that marred last year’s presidential polls.