I was present at the Memorial Seminar for Dr Attati Mpakati held on 23 March 2019 at Crown Hotel in Lilongwe. I traveled from Gaborone, Botswana specifically for this historical occasion.
Those who also attended, can agree with me the extent of unfairness and injustice that as a nation we have committed by rejecting to embark on national healing and reconciliation.
There was a gentleman whose grand parents were forced to exile after cabinet crisis of 1964.
Their property confiscated.
While in exile, his grandfather Kaswaya Mkandawire who was part of the struggle against colonialism in Nyasaland, was shot dead by Dr Banda’s agents at Mkushi in Zambia.
He was shot dead and dumped in a forest where his dead body was eaten by wild animals in 1972
The daughter of Kaswaya Mkandawire who happened to be the mother to this gentleman was later detained at Maula prison while expectant where this gentleman was born in mid 1970s.
I never had imagined the trauma and psychological impact of the atrocities of one party state like what I witnessed yesterday with this gentleman.
He almost disrupted the event with his conduct which nobody was able to contain, a clear manifestation of excessive trauma and anger from the brutality that families went through during one party state.
Though some rush to dismiss healing and reconciliation that it is no longer relevant now and insist that we should just forget and move ahead as a nation, the reality is that psychological wounds are still fresh on the victims.
In the Memorial, we saw Masauko Chipembere’s widow failing to control herself and breaking down having had her traumatic experience of the atrocities evoked as proceedings went.
We as a nation have really failed the returnees and Ex-political Detainees of the one party regime by continuing to reject truth and reconciliation mechanism as a healing process for the nation.
The victims like the man am talking about who almost disrupted the event needed rehabilitation to systematically deal or avoid such trauma and related behavioral disorders that now would be too late to heal having been neglected for so long.
This would have been part of the package under Truth and Reconciliation for the victims in great need of such a therapy .