President Lazarus Chakwera has lauded men and women that risked their lives during the country’s fight for independence from British rule.
Chakwera was speaking at a Martyrs’ Day commemoration event at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe Wednesday.
“On this day, it is right for us to come together as a nation in various places across the country to honour the resolve and sacrifices of these martyrs to free our country. [This] is a resolve that our men and women perform daily to protect our country and is the same resolve and sacrifice that all of us must demonstrate to build our country.
“I can think of no better way to honour their sacrifice than for us to build the new Malawi they dreamed of and died for. It is not only a Malawi we inherited from the sacrifices of our forebearers of Wednesday but a Malawi we owe to our children of tomorrow,” he said.
Chakwera said the uprising that unfolded around the country on March 3 1989 was not only significant as a matter of history but also the birth of Malawi five years later.
The President said the uprising was the harvest of seeds of liberation that had started germinating immediately after the year 1891, when the British established Central Africa Protectorate, which was later named Nyasaland in 1907.
“In 1915, when John Chilembwe of Chiradzulu and others shed their blood in the struggle to free us from oppression, they were watering these seeds of our liberation. In 1944, when George Mwase of Nkhata Bay and other members of Nyasaland African Congress pressed Mr Richards the British Governor to formally recognise Chilembwe’s sacrifice, they were watering these seeds of liberation. In 1953, when 11 of our people were killed and 72 were injured in the Thyolo riots protesting against the inclusion of Nyasaland in the oppressive Federation of Rhodesia, they were watering these seeds of our liberation.
“In 1957, when Henry Chipembere, Kanyama Chiume and the Chisiza brothers toured the whole country to revive the Nyasaland African Congress and amass political support against the federation, they were watering the seeds of our liberation and may I add that they were walking in the footsteps of Levi Mumba. In 1958, when they brought late Hastings Kamuzu Banda back from abroad to lead a campaign against what he called a ‘stupid federation’, they were watering the seeds of our liberation,” Chakwera said.
Chakwera said it was not by accident that the labour of the martyrs forced Richards, the British governor, to declare a State of Emergency which resulted in the killing of 51 people and detention of 1,300 others.
The March 3 commemoration this year coincided with ceremonial guard-mounting, which is about the change of soldiers that provide security services to the State House.