19 February 2018

Malawi: Chakwera Blocked From Giving Eulogies At Mpasu's Funeral

Photo: Nyasa Times
Malawi Congress Party president Lazarous Chakwera.

The opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has accused government of blocking the party president and leader of opposition Lazarus Chakwera from giving his eulogies at the funeral of veteran politician Sam Mpasu, who was president of New Labour Party.

Mpasu, who served Speaker of Parliament between 1999 and 2003, was found dead yesterday in his house in Mudi, Blantyre, after succumbing to hypertension complications.

He was laid to rest on Saturday in Ntcheu.

The initial program that was circulated at the funeral ceremony indicated that the leader of opposition would be among speakers to give their eulogies.

But Office of President and Cabinet circulated another programme which omitted Chakwera from the list of people to give eulogies.

"Government deliberated sidelined Chakwera but he should have been given a chance to pay tribute on behalf of all opposition parties," party's deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka said.

"The late Mpasu was working with fellow opposition leaders as president of New Labour Party," Mkaka said.

According to political analysts, Mpasu will be remembered as a politician who remained steadfast on a slippery political ground where his contemporaries slip more often than not.

Born in 1945, Mpasu was detained at Mikuyu Prison without trial from January 22 1975 to January 10 1977. In 1991 he joined UDF which at the time was an underground organisation, and fought Banda's dictatorship. He was appointed to the National Referendum Committee.

In 1994, when United Democratic Front (UDF) became the first democratically elected government in the country, Mpasu was elected member of Parliament for Ntcheu Central.

He has served as minister of Education, Science and Technology (1994-95), minister of Health and Population (1995-1996), minister of Information (1997-1999) and minister of Commerce and Industry (2003-2004).

In 2008, he was convicted of corruption over Fieldyork International text book scam of 1994 and sentenced to six years imprisonment. He was released in August 2010 for good conduct.

He joined the New Labour Party in 2012 and became president of the party after Friday Jumbe resigned.

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