Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo on Tuesday visited people of Moto Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Chowe in Mangochi to apologise for the atrocities the locals experienced under one-party rule.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP), under Kamuzu Banda’s authoritarian rule, torched the village on suspicion that the villagers were harbouring Henry Masauko Chipembere.
This happened after Chipembere, who was from the area, went into hiding after taking up arms to fight against Banda’s rule.
The development has ever since led the people of Moto Village and surrounding areas to develop a strong hatred towards MCP, calling it a “killing party”.
But in an attempt at reconciliation, Mtambo visited the area to apologise for the government’s atrocities and assure people that the new MCP has a new leadership style.
He said: “I have come here to heal the wounds inflicted on you by some politicians years back. We regret and say sorry because it happened under the brand of MCP.
“However, I want you to know that this is a new MCP with new faces and new style of leadership. The old oppressive party which inflicted pain on you is gone.”
The minister then asked the people to support the Tonse administration which wants to work with everyone irrespective of political, tribal or religious differences.
“Tonse Alliance wants to bring development in the country. However, development cannot come if there is enmity. Hence, our coming to correct all the wrongdoing some leaders caused in the country,” he said.
To this end, the minister asked the people not to allow politicians to divide them by reminding them of the old atrocities, asking them to develop a discerning heart towards ill politicians.
In his remarks, a community representative Sheikh Hussein Akim accepted the apology, saying with time they have realised that people who inflicted them pain are no longer in MCP.
“We have forgiven you. We are ready to move forward. From today onwards, count us as your friends. We can’t keep grudges with people who are no longer in the party or who died,” he said.
Akim asked government to honour the people by constructing a statue for the late Chipembere, a good road and a secondary school in the area. n