MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-The governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and government officials on Sunday, shunned memorial services for the nation’s founding father, late Dr. Hasting Kamuzu Banda, despite being invited for the event at Mzuzu Stadium.
This was the first time the Chendawaka family organized the annual memorial service to remember Kamuzu in Mzuzu. Precious May 14 events were organized at the family base in Kasungu.
The official program for the service indicated that government representative would speak, but no one turned up for the function.
Another political party that was absent at the Kamuzu Day event, was the former ruling People’s Party (PP), who missed the event, despite also being invited by the Kamuzu family.
The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazurus Chakwera, CCAP clergy and the public attended the event.
A member of the Kamuzu family and former cabinet minister Ken Kandodo, expressed concerns over government’s decision to shun the event, although letters and invitation cards were sent to all parties represented in Parliament, government officials, including Cabinet ministers.
Kandondo said the family was surprised to note that the invitations were not honored; he said the same method of inviting delegates have been used for the past 18 years.
“We sent out invitation letters three weeks ago, before the actual day of the event. So, we don’t think there is a person who would say they didn’t know about this event. We are however, happy and satisfied that ordinary men and women attended the event”, Kandodo said.
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila, defended the party’s absence with complaints that the event was a Chendawaka family affair not necessarily party function.
Kasaila said the party avoided to attend the service because of the politicization, which in the long run would reflect differently to the general public.
“Our understanding in the party, is that the invitations was for all Malawians and not about any party. We know for sure that some Malawians including DPP, and other parties attended the event. Only if the family wants to politicize the memorial service, but as for us we are comfortable with the decision,” Kasaila said.
Some political analysts however, refuted Kasakula’s defense for Government officials absence from the event, by saying the event, while being organized by the late founder’s family, it is a national event.
“It shouldn’t even be the Chendawaka family that organizes Kamuzu Day functions. It’s a national commemoration and it requires the Government to be at the helm,” said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“A nation’s hero is a hero, for good or for bad; if government set the day aside as a national event, then all honors for commemorating it, should be in place,” he said.
He further added that Kasaila’s comment is ludicrous. The analyst wondered and said “how do you celebrate a former political figure’s event like Kamuzu’s birthday, and delete any political overtures from it? Kamuzu was a politician. Period. Anything to do with him, will be a political statement,” he argued.
The analyst threw in his last weight on the issue, and said “the DPP government should just say they are stone-broke.”
This year’s event was held under the theme, “Unity and Reconciliation”, with the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia leading the memorial service.
Kamuzu who led Malawi to independence in 1964 and ruled for 30 years, died in 1997 at Garden City Clinic in South Africa.