Opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera has apologized to Malawians for the hardships they faced during the era of the party’s founder Kamuzu Banda.
Speaking during the burial ceremony of one of Malawi’s founders, Rose Chibambo, Chakwera apologised to those who were forced to leave the country.
Among the exiled sons and daughters of Malawi was Chibambo who fled to Zambia after being taken as a traitor to the state and threat to national security.
Chibambo and others had opposed Kamuzu Banda’s decision to charge for health services and to move slowly in Africanisation of the civil service. This was coupled with a general feeling that Banda was becoming increasingly autocratic, leading to the 1964 Cabinet Crisis.
Chibambo and her family faced constant harassment from MCP loyalists until they fled to Zambia in 1965 where they faced the challenge of starting a new life.
When her husband Edwin Chibambo died, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda offered a plane to carry his remains to Malawi but Rose Chibambo insisted on burying her husband in Zambia for fear of facing humiliation in her motherland.
Late Chibambo returned to Malawi in 1994 after the country adopted multiparty system.
Former President Bingu wa Mutharika honoured Chibambo by naming a street in Mzuzu City after her and having her face on the country’s K200 banknote.
She died in the early hours of Tuesday, 12 January, 2016 aged 87.