34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

35 But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:34-35

President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has directed that the body of the late Sam Mpasu be laid to rest with full military honors. He will be represented by VP Chilima at burial ceremony.

Late Sam Mpasu is honored for the outstanding contribution he made to the country.

Media reports state that the late Mpasu served first served as a diplomat posted to Ethiopia, held several in ministerial positions and also served as Speaker of the national assembly. He was found dead at his home in Blantyre on Thursday 15th of February and will be laid to rest at Khuzi village, in Inkosi Makwangwala’s area in Ntcheu on Sunday 18 February, 2018.

If the late Mpasu, Vice President Chilima described Mpasu as a selfless true son of the nation.

“Sam Mpasu was a selfless and humble person who contributed immensely to the development of this country as a writer, civil servant, diplomat and politician.”

These are great accolades indeed for an illustrious career of Mr. Sam Mpasu. The military honors salute a life well led.

I too wish to salute Late Sam Mpasu, someone who was my mentor – former journalist turned diplomat and later national analyst.

Mr. Mpasu was First Secretary at the Malawi Embassy in Addis Ababa where my Father, Late Ambassador Nyemba Mbekeani was Malawi’s envoy to Ethiopia and the Organization of African Unity (currently known as African Unity – AU), Mr. George Banda was Deputy Ambassador, Mr. Matewere (Administrator), Beni Sani (First Secretary, Mr. Dembo (Security Officer, he replaced Mr Mac Itimu). At the Economic Commission were Bingu Wa Mutharika and a Mr. Mwase (Economic professionals).

All of these people I met in Ethiopia, except one, have passed away.

While in Ethiopia, and because of the close relationships that developed, these, became akin to family members. Additionally, many of these passed away some time ago, except for Mr. Mpasu and Mr. Banda (brother of former Chief Justice Richard Banda).

This brings us to the question of military honors for our national heroes. There is no doubt that Late Mpasu deserves the military honors. However, the cherry-picking and definitely party-line picking on who to honor and elevate in the national narrative, is an objectionable matter.

Why is the President choosing people deemed acceptable to his party and sidelining those who were not party loyalists? Late Mpasu was not a DPP loyalist, but he was one of the founder members of the UDF and rose to ministerial position up to serving as Speaker of the Parliament.

The close relationship of President Arthur Peter Mutharika’s DPP with UDF’s former president Bakili Muluzi, probably pushed this decision; while not honoring George Banda, who passed away last week, is largely due to the fact that he was brother in law to Mutharika’s enemy number one, former President Dr. Joyce Banda.

Politicizing honoring of heroes along party lines, is undemocratic and against the tenets of our constitution. Men and women in Malawi laid their lives on the line and were ready to die for country in the 1950’s and their selfless acts bought us freedom from the colonial ruler Britain.

In the early 1990s, men and women also laid their lives on the line and were ready to die for their country. And these selfless acts bought us freedom from the one-party rule of late Dr. Kamuzu Banda no relation to Dr. Joyce Banda).

The president of the land, must bring to memory all the heroes of every one of these epochs (1950s and 1990s). He must also be cognizant of the existence of a myriad of political parties that have people that are perform heroic acts in their lines of duty.

All these people must be treated equally and fairly, as the hero buttons, fanfare or military honors are being doled out. All these people “…contributed (in some way) to the development of this country.”

Let’s honor all Malawi’s heroes, not just some. This is because heroes are heroes irrespective of and without regard to the political party they belong.

Long live genuine democracy!

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