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Families of martyrs slam leaders

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By Samuel Kalimira:

Some relatives of the 1959 martyrs Sunday accused past and present governments of diluting what the freedom fighters died for, citing nepotism and violence as undermining self-rule.

Representative of the relatives, James Thawe, who lost his father during the struggle for independence against the colonialists, said, if the martyrs were to resurrect, they would beat up current leaders for torturing Malawians.

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He was speaking during this year’s Martyrs Day commemoration held at Nkhata Bay Boma under the theme ‘Unity in Diversity is Paramount for Development of Malawi’.

Thawe said current leaders have nepotistic tendencies which, he said, are destroying the whole purpose of the freedom the martyrs died for.

“If those we are remembering today were to resurrect from the grave, they could beat you up and chase you from there because you are playing with their blood. Governments come and go, ignoring us when our fathers fought for freedom at Nkhata Bay Jetty,” Thawe said.

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He said it is only Malawi Congress Party (MCP)-led government which used to honour the families by proving them with food while United Democratic Front (UDF)-led regime started the process of compensations, only for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)-led government to abandon the process.

Thawe urged the government to extend Malata Subsidy Programme to families of the martyrs.

Acting Chief Mkumbira and organising committee chairperson, Paul Nazombe, concurred with Thawe, saying the government should support the families of the freedom fighters.

However, Mkumbira commended the government for implementing development projects such as Nkhata Bay- Mzuzu Road and a district hospital.

But Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, who represented President Peter Mutharika at the event, told the gathering that he could not respond to concerns which the families raised.

“These are our heroes; nobody can deny that. However, I can’t respond to what the families have said unless they find a better platform for us to discuss the issue. I promise, as the government, we are willing to be part of the discussions,” Gondwe said.

The event was also attended by State Vice President Saulos Chilima, DPP’s Everton Chimulirenji, MCP’s Lazarus Chakwera, Atupele Muluzi of UDF and former State vice president Khumbo Kachali.

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