Politicians and members of the clergy seized the opportunity at the late Robson Watayachanga Chirwa’s funeral service in Mzuzu Thursday to throw jabs at each other over various socio-economic challenges Malawi is facing.
While the clergy and the opposition accused government of stubbornness, the latter accused the former of malicious criticism.
Launching the punch lines, First Deputy Secretary General of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), James Kaunda, hinted that modern political leaders have failed to emulate the life of the late Chirwa, which hinged on serving the nation over self-enrichment.
He said this has cost the nation which continues to face various challenges which he said could easily be avoided if the ruling elite had a listening ear.
“Government always trashes what the opposition has to say, but as the main opposition in the country, we also represent a constituency of the population and we are obliged to raise concerns when things go wrong,” Kaunda said.
But Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Grace Chiumia, hit back that Malawi finds herself in such socio-economic predicament because as the main opposition, MCP has failed its responsibility of advising the government.
She reiterated that the MCP and its leader, Lazarus Chakwera, is bent at fault finding and thus denounced the party that it lacks members of the late Chirwa’s calibre.
“If the MCP had people like the late Chirwa, the party and the nation would have made a lot of progress. Party representatives take the message [and tell] president Lazarus Chakwera to tap from the knowledge of this icon which the nation has lost,” said Chiumia who offered the eulogy on behalf of government.
She then hailed the late veteran politician for his statesmanship and service to the nation.
As if that was not enough, leaders of the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbytery (CCAP) took turns in taking a swipe at government and the rest of the politicians for what they branded as practice of dirty politics.
General Secretary, Levi Nyondo, stressed that the late Chirwa was a clean politician and understood the democratic dispensation better than most of the modern politicians.
“Malawi’s development is on a downward spiral because of too much nepotism and selfishness. The national cake is shared unevenly and we are saying that is wrong. The consequences of such leadership are too conspicuous,” Nyondo said.
Moderator Douglas Chipofya in his sermon also concurred with Nyondo by saying most political leaders lack the servitude and humility befitting a leader.
However, man of the moment was pastor for Katawa congregation, Morris Munthali, known for his controversial prayers who in his closing prayer took a swipe at government for honouring Chirwa at his death when they failed to do so while he was alive.
“God we are such hypocrites, Gogo Chirwa had no vehicle, lived in a not so decent house and we were not there to provide for his needs. Forgive us now that he is gone, we suddenly have the money for such an expensive casket and many other luxuries for his dead self…” said the prayer in part.