Friday, June 14 passed by just like any other day on the calendar. The only thing that many Malawians spoke about on this day and will perhaps remember is that June 14 2019 was the day that the High Court Lilongwe District Registry had the scheduling conference for the elections case in which Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM are challenging the outcome of the May 21 2019 presidential elections.
For those not in the know, on a cold and chilly June 14 1993 Malawians stood on long queues to cast their votes in a referendum; to choose between one-party system of government and multiparty democracy.
On that day, Malawians overwhelmingly rejected Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s one-party rule and, instead, chose plural politics. To many who braved the cold weather, found warmth in the belief that this was the second ‘independence’ for Malawi.
From then on, Malawi regained its freedom. It was freedom from Banda’s dictatorship. Now, it is sad that the country has decided to forget such unforgettable day.
The freedoms that Malawians enjoy today were fought for on June 14 1993. Typical of peace-loving Malawians, the many human rights that Malawians were denied of during the one-party system were regained on this day without shedding a drop of blood.
This was the day that put to an end 30 years of Banda’s dictatorship. For the history that was made, this is a day no Malawian should ever forget. Never!
The first president after Malawians had overwhelmingly voted for multiparty, Bakili Muluzi, realised the importance of this day and declared June 14 a public holiday. But the public holiday was later scrapped off the calendar by Bingu wa Mutharika who, instead, brought back Kamuzu Day, which falls on May 14.
If there is anything retrogressive that has happened since the fall of Kamuzu, it is the striking out of June 14 as a public holiday. Any Malawian who truly values the sacrifices Malawians made on this day, understands the importance of this day. Hence, it makes no sense that political leaders—playing politics of appeasement—decided to let this day pass by just like any other day. It is sad June 14 has been made worthless—not deserving of any pomp or celebration.
Malawi has had several immemorable days that have gone down in history and are still being remembered and celebrated. In the same spirit that we celebrate Independence Day on July 6, I strongly believe June 14, which is Malawi’s Freedom Day, should be celebrated., and be a public holiday for that matter.
Instead of spending energy on political-bickering and backbiting, let us never ever forget June 14. Never!