Mutharika mocked over ‘slip of history

Peter Miutharika

…Mutharika orders Chipembere’s statue be erected in Malindi not Blantyre like Gandhi

President Peter Mutharika is being mocked on social media for claiming Henry Masauko Chipembere one of the founding fathers of Malawi “was sentenced to two-and-half years of hard labour at the Zomba Central Hospital” by the colonial government.

A clip of Mutharika’s infamous slip of the tongue is making rounds on social media where people are volunteering to offer the President free history lessons.

Chipembere, one of the architects of Malawi’s independence, was jailed for sedition by the colonial government and sentenced to three years in prison. After serving two years in Zomba jail, he was released in January 1963.

Despite the pivotal role he in securing the independence as well selling Hasting Kamuzu Banda’s candidacy, Chipembere and Dr H.K. Banda became sworn enemies over differences in ideologies including Banda’s slow pace in Africanisation and plans to introduce fee-paying health services in what became known as the 1964 Cabinet Crisis.

Chipembere, alongside other freedom fighters, led an armed revolt in Malindi against Kamuzu Banda.

He was exiled in the US where he taught at California State University. Chipembere died on 24 September 1975 of diabetes and a liver disease, aged 45.

Meanwhile, Mutharika has commissioned a statue in honor of the fallen hero at Malindi in Mangochi. Some Malawians have urged the President to reconsider having the statue in Blantyre where the Indian Government is building a Mahatma Gandhi monument.

In his address to Anglicans at Malindi, Mangochi during 120th celebration anniversary of St. Martin’s Hospital, Mutharika described Chipembere as a brilliant and principled person who fought against oppression during colonialism and the one party regime of the Malawi Congress Party.

However, while welcoming the statue, Malawians have asked Mutharika to reconsider having another statue in Blantyre or commissioning it in the country’s commercial city where a highway is named after Mr Chipembere.

“Malindi is too far. Masauko Chipembere’s monument can even be erected at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre [which] is along the very Masauko Chipembere Highway” Howard Mlozi posted on Facebook.

Mlozi, while recognizing the importance of the statue, also urged Mutharika to join the #GhandiMustFall movement as a show of patriotism that the president preached.

“It’s important to honour our own heroes. This patriotism should not stop [as] your great announcement to build a monument for Masauko comes at a time your fellow patriotic Malawians are being challenged in court for stopping Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Ginnery Corner in Blantyre” he said.