Nkhata-Bay, March 3: President Dr. Joyce Banda on Sunday appealed to Malawians to respect the freedom the country had today.
Dr. Banda was speaking at Nkhata-Bay boma during a Martyrs Remembrance Day Memorial Service. The theme for the service was: With God, it’s possible to build and develop Malawi.
Dr Banda said for Malawi to be free, some people were brave and fought for the country to be independent.
“We should thank God for loving our country, and for sparing lives of some people so that we should have history. People made sacrifices in the country so that Malawi should have freedom,” she said.
She disclosed that she had instituted a Ministerial Committee to look into the possibility of having a heroes’ acre.
“We want as a country to have a heroes’ acre where our fathers who fought for our freedom should be cares for and reburied at one place if their families accept. But if they will not, then where they are we will rebury them,” Dr. Banda said.
Dr. Banda said that the committee would go to Karonga where Dunduzu Chisiza is buried, Chakufwa Chihana’s burial district of Rumphi to ask their relatives if they would rebury them at heroes’ acre.
“I will not rest until I bring to fruition my dream of having a heroes’ acre,” she assured the congregation.
Dr. Banda told the gathering that in the 2013-2014 national budget, they would consider putting aside money for the heroes’ acre. She cited as an example Zimbabwe which she said had a heroes’ acre where all heroes who fought for Zimbabwe’s freedom are buried.
Earlier, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Honolulu Rachael Nazombwe Zulu said her ministry would continue assisting the Martyrs Day Committee in remembering martyrs in the country.
“The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has put a tarmac road to the graveyard as one way of promoting tourism to ensure the place is passable so that people, even foreigners, should be visiting the place,” Zulu said.
Fifty three years ago, 31 freedom fighters were shot dead by the colonial security forces, while several others were critically wounded in Nkhata-Bay district.
Records indicate that the 31 fallen heroes were buried in a mass grave, now dubbed heroes garden at Kakumbi, a location in the district.
Given the significant role the martyrs played for the country to attain independence and peace it is enjoying, there were calls to have them exhumed, and accord them a respectable burial.
President Dr. Banda’s plan to build a heroes acre therefore resonates with many Malawians.