By Isaac Salima
People from all walks of life Tuesday flocked to Thyolo District, where some activities to remember former president Bingu wa Mutharika took place.
Mutharika succumbed to cardiac arrest in April 2012 while in office and, since then, family members have been organising special events in his honour.
Tuesday, commemorations began with a memorial service at Chingadzi Catholic Parish, where erstwhile president Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) was joined by another former head of State Bakili Muluzi and other officials in a holy mass that was led by Blantyre Archdiocese Vicar General Bonface Tamani.
Tamani stole the show as, in his speech, he challenged the country’s leaders to be known for good things so that, in so doing, they can be following Bingu’s footsteps.
Tamani also called on the opposition to unite.
“The country is going through a lot of challenges and there is a need for a strong opposition to provide checks and balances,” Tamani said.
Representing the Mutharika family, Arthur Masamba said they would live to remember Mutharika.
“We are happy that he contributed immensely to the development of the country and he also loved family members,” he said.
After the mass, people proceeded to Mpumulo wa Bata Mausoleum, where officials, led by APM, laid wreaths on Bingu’s tombstone.
Conspicuously missing at the event were government representatives.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administrative secretary Francis Mphepo said they did not send individual invitations.
“We released a public invitation and those who came did not receive individual invitations,” Mphepo said.
Other notable faces present were DPP vice-president for the south Kondwani Nankhumwa, United Democratic Progressive Front president Atupele Muluzi, Mulhakho wa Alhomwe and other DPP officials.
During his reign, he became famous for overseeing construction works such as the New Parliament Building, Bingu National Stadium, Malawi University of Science and Technology, Chipembere Highway and the Chitipa-Karonga Road.
However, prior to his death, Bingu became ill-reputed for his administration’s crackdown on anti-government demonstrators.