By Kondanani Chilimunthaka
President Lazarus Chakwera has described one of the country’s fallen heroes, Reverend John Chilembwe as a giant for his courage, selfless in fighting for the country’s freedom from the colonial masters, and the vision he had in developing Malawi.
Chakwera was speaking during this year’s John Chilembwe memorial services and prayers which were held on Sunday, 15th January,2023 at Providence Industrial Mission (PIM) headquarters in Chiradzulu, the home district of late Rev. John Chilembwe, where he led Malawians in remembering the course of Chilembwe’ fight, sacrifice, and determination
“Chilembwe fought differently from many of us as in whatever good Chilembwe did, he did for the whole country because he loved the country. So we must stir ourselves and each other to love the whole country, to serve the whole country, to defend the whole country, and to build the whole country. This is how we heal our land and honour the legacy and example of this giant and this hero we have come to celebrate today.” Said President Chakwera.
Chakwera who connected the name Industrial Mission as a vision of Chilembwe to the current Industrialization that his government is championing as an economic drive towards the growth of the country in aspirations towards 2063 vision told the nation that when Chilembwe called his church as Industrial Mission, he was sending a message about a need to build industries that create wealth, create jobs, and achieve food security which was not for himself, his relatives, or district but the country, because he loved his country.
Here, Malawi President said there is a need to break the poor mindset of thinking that only one part of the country, one tribe, one group of people, or one religion is more important, or is above others, saying all the people are equal, hence Reverends Joseph Booth and John Chilembwe considered Malawians as one people.
In his remarks, Minister of Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi urged Malawians to respect the leadership and love one another for the development of the country which he said belongs to every Malawian.
Speaking on behalf of the Providence Industrial Mission, President for the church, Rev. Wilson Mitambo thanked President Chakwera for constructing tombs for Chilembwe’ family members and transforming the PIM headquarters into a tourism area, saying the initiative has revived and preserved the history of John Chilembwe’s family.
Mitambo added that as a church, PIM will continue praying for President Chakwera to develop Malawi to a better height, saying as a church it is optimistic that things will soon be fine with Malawi through President Chakwera’s vision.
Rev. John Chilembwe was born in 1871 near Sangano hill, East of Chiradzulu district, and went to America in 1897 with Rev. Joseph Booth before coming back home and establish PIM in 1900. Chilembwe led the uprising of 23rd January, 1915, and is believed to have been killed on 3rd February, 1915 at Chinolampeni hill between Malawi and Mozambique, and this year the day has been commemorated on the theme “God heal us”.