Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) Executive Director, Gift Trapence, has said Malawians are yet to start enjoying the fruits of independence which people like Reverend John Chilembwe fought for.
“Malawians are yet to start benefitting [from] Chilembwe’s efforts to liberate them as the citizenry is still facing the very same ills Chilembwe was fighting against. Malawians are still in colonialisms of poverty, colonialism of bad governance; unless we reverse and fight the arrogance of our politicians, Chilembwe’s dreams are far from being realised,” Trapence said in an interview.
Trapence said, however, that Chilembwe’s efforts to liberate people from colonial rule bore fruits administratively in the sense that Malawi became independent years later.
“[It is sad that] Malawians are still facing the ills Chilembwe wanted to liberate them from. Though our leaders are in the forefront celebrating Chilembwe’s legacy, their actions do not represent what Chilembwe fought for,” Trapence said.
Trapence singled out the fracas that ensued on Sunday during Chilembwe’s memorial prayers in Chiradzulu where Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters attacked their Malawi Congress Party (MCP) counterparts as a sign of stagnant democracy.
“Look, the behaviour they [party supporters] have displayed even during Chilembwe’s commemoration event in Chiradzulu where party followers were fighting and yet they are claiming to be Chilembwe’s torchbearers. This is total disgrace to our democracy; Malawians of good will needs to fight these ills if our democracy is to be meaningful,” he said.
Trapence said leaders of this country need to make sure that Malawians are economically sound and that everyone is benefitting from good governance if the efforts of people like Chilembwe are to be fully appreciated.
“Malawians are strangled by the yoke of corruption where our political leaders protect each other. We have relevant examples to this effect; though we claim to be in democracy, the behaviour of our political leaders including the behaviour of DPP-led government is not what Malawians aspired to in 1993 when we adopted multiparty politics,” Trapence said.
He said Malawians needed to have the spirit of Chilembwe to fight the ills that this country is going through.
“Malawi would be on the verge of being a dictatorial regime if some undemocratic tendencies being displayed are not being checked and being fought against the way Chilembwe was able to stand up to fight out such ills,” he said.
Speaking during the Chilembwe celebrations, President Peter Mutharika said Chilembwe was a great leader who could not falter on his vision despite facing challenges.
“During the uprising, there was famine, Chilembwe had lost a daughter, and he was suffering from asthma. But he carried on with his vision, he was patriotic, hardworking and a man of integrity who loved this country,” said Mutharika.
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