By Isaac Salima:
President Lazarus Chakwera has urged people in the country to learn from John Chilembwe’s sense of patriotism, saying the patriotism will manifest once people start loving one another.
Chakwera made the remarks at Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) in Chiradzulu District, where he led Malawians in commemorations marking Chilembwe Day Sunday.
The country observes the day on January 15 in honour of Chilembwe’s heroic deeds against the colonial masters.
His uprising of 1915 is regarded as the watermark for the struggle for self-rule, which manifested when Malawi attained independence from Britain in 1964.
Chakwera said Malawians should emulate Chilembwe’s shining example of self-sacrifice instead of prioritising personal gain.
“When he [Chilembwe] made the decision to return home from the diaspora, that decision was not for himself or his relatives or district but the country. When he established this mission, it was not for himself or his relatives or district but the country. When he called this an industrial mission, he was sending a message about the need to build industries that create wealth, create jobs and achieve food security but that message was not for himself or his relatives or his district but the country.
“When he led an uprising against foreign rulers, occupiers and oppressors, he was not defending or fighting for himself or his relatives or his district but the country.
When he sacrificed his life, that sacrifice was not for himself or his relatives or his district but the country,” Chakwera said.
He then urged central and local government authorities to promote equal distribution of resources if the country is to make strides in development.
“Now, we know that, like all of us, Chilembwe had personal needs. Like all of us, he had relatives. Like all of us, he had a home district.
But when it came to the things he did in this world, the things he built in this world, and the battles he fought in this world, unlike many today, Chilembwe did it for love of country. And he did not just love his part of the country, but all of it.
“So, as we reflect on today’s theme of ‘Healing’, I want to challenge you to consider whether you love every part of this country as yours or do you just love the one part of it where you were born, where you live, and where your relatives are?” he asked.
Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Minister Michael Usi called on those in authority to assist the President in achieving the country’s transformation agenda.
“If our leaders are to achieve their dreams, we have to lender them a helping hand. It is sad that, instead of doing this, we are always obsessed with negativity and castigating our leaders,” Usi said.
The event started with Chakwera laying wreaths on the newly unveiled tombstones for Chilembwe’s mother and sister.
Chakwera—who was accompanied by his vice Saulos Chilima, former president Joyce Banda and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Kondwani Nankhumwa—later led some dignitaries in a wreath-laying ceremony at Chilembwe Memorial Tower.
The country’s leader thereafter attended a service of worship at PIM’s Assembly Arena, where religious leaders took turns in praying for the country.
At the event, Reverend Fletcher Kaiya stole the show when, in his prayer for the nation, he wondered why the country continues to register more ills than victories when the majority of people are God-fearing.
PIM President Wilson Mitambo hailed the government for fulfilling its promise of constructing tombstones for Chilembwe’s mother and sister.