President Lazarus Chakwera has disclosed government’s plans to construct a mausoleum for Orton Chirwa and an airport that bears his name.
Chakwera said the country needed to start honouring sacrifices made by freedom fighters.
He said this Thursday during this year’s Martyrs Day commemorations and memorial service of worship held in Nkhata Bay District.
The day puts in the limelight 31 people, 27 men and four women who were killed in the lakeshore district as they were fighting for Malawi’s independence from colonial masters on March 3 1959.
“One step towards correcting this error is our plan to construct a mausoleum for Hon. Orton Ching’oli Chirwa and an airport that bears his name, for he is every bit as much a national treasure as all the other six leaders we honour for their sacrifice. We do so in order to inspire a new generation of patriots to make similar sacrifices today so that their courage, integrity, honesty and diligence become the seed for producing the harvest of tomorrow’s new Malawi,” Chakwera said.
Before attending the memorial service, which was held at Maganga Ground, Chakwera laid wreaths at the tombstone of Orton Chirwa at Manolo, Traditional Authority Timbiri, in the district.
Chakwera described Chirwa as a man who lived beyond his time; an individual of great vision and formidable courage.
“… he was a man with a towering intellect, a man of principle, a man of peace, a patriot at heart and a true Malawian. This son of Nkhata Bay served his country and gave Malawi his best and the full measure of his devotion. We honour him today, for we owe him more than we can ever repay and we pray that he continues to rest in peace,” he said.
Speaking at the memorial event, Senior Chief Mkumbira digressed by commenting on the 2021-22 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) which, he said, has not been a success.
Commenting on the challenges facing AIP, Chakwera said fertiliser smuggling and inhumane treatment of beneficiaries were some of the challenges that marred this year’s programme.
He directed law enforcers to act swiftly on the matter.
A representative of the bereaved families, 73-year-old James Thawe whose father was gunned down while the son was a 10-year-old boy, said they wanted the government to take over the memorial event.
“We were failing in many areas and the fear was we could get tired and stop commemorating the day. So, it would be exciting if the government took over the event,” he said.
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa said they would keep an eye on promises the President has made in relation to the country’s freedom fighters.
The memorial service, which was held under the theme ‘Patriotism: A Living Seed for Prospering Together’, was also attended by Vice President Saulos Chilima.