No Party Colours at Martyrdom Commemorations
As the country commemorates 53 years of martyrdom in Nkhata-Bay on Saturday, the organising committee has banned wearing of party colours despite inviting all Malawians to the annual event.
This year the commemorations are under the theme "with God all things are possible."
Committee publicity chairperson Mr. Joseph Nduna told Zodiak Online that, as a way of enhancing oneness, the committee has resolved that nobody must be allowed to clad in party colours during the event, adding that they would not like to associate the function with politics.
“After all, the martyrs were not in a party uniform when they were being killed. The only uniform we are allowing is that of police and churches,” said Mr. Nduna.
The guest of honour, who was yet to be known by the close of business on Thursday, will among other duties be expected to read the bible from the book of Matthews chapter 19 verse 26, and lead a procession of Malawians who will march a distance of 500 meters from the massacre site to the martyrs garden.
The march is symbolic of the march the fallen heroes held on March 3, 1959, shortly before they were killed.
In 1953, the colonial government imposed the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; which the people of Nyasaland; now Malawi opposed and detested vehemently for its oppressive and exploitative tendencies.
Then in 1958, Dr Kamuzu Banda arrived in the country and systematically led the fight against the federation, which culminated into the arrest of Nyasaland African Congress leaders, including Dr Banda himself.
In Nkhata-Bay, on 2nd March 1959, political leaders were detained and locked up in MV Mpasa vessel which was by then docked at the district's jetty.
This angered the people who rallied and demanded the release of the detainees. Sensing danger of losing power to the natives, the then country's governor Sir Robert Armitage declared a state of emergency on Mach 3, 1959.
It is on the same day that the then Nkhata-Bay district Commissioner Mr. John Bloke, ordered his colonial forces to open fire at the freedom fighters; killing 31 of them on the spot while several others were critically wounded.
The fallen heroes were buried by six prisoners the following day; in a mass grave; now dubbed Martyrs Garden at Kakumbi location in the district.
The commemorations at Nkhata Bay Community Center Ground will start from the massacre site, where an eye witness Mr. Benga Chiume, will narrate to hundreds of Malawians, the 1959 events that led to the mass killings. - Zodiak Online