By Yamikani Yapuwa
A sombre mood engulfed Limbe Cathedral Cemetery on Monday afternoon in Blantyre when hundreds of mourners witnessed the casket carrying the remains of veteran politician, Harry Ian Thomson being lowered in the grave.
Thomson, who served as Cabinet Minister and Member of Parliament under the United Democratic Front era died at the age of 85 on Thursday at Milpark Hospital in South Africa after a long illness.
In their eulogies, family, friends, church and government officials described the country’s renowned democracy fighter as humble, selfless and patriotic citizen who played a pivotal role in the development of the country during one party reign.
Vice President, Everton Chimulirenji who represented President Prof. Peter Mutharika, said Thomson was instrumental in the fight for change from one party era to multiparty system of government.
“The president is greatly saddened by the death of Thomson as he was not an ordinary man. He made positive contributions to the democratic development of the country.
“He was humble and proved to be the person of high integrity, hard working as well as patriotic,” he said.
One of the people who made the first multiparty cabinet, Ziliro Chibambo said Thomson was part of the movement that fought tirelessly against one party system during late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
“Together with the likes of former President Bakili Muluzi and Brown Mpinganjira, Thomson helped in waging a fierce fight till Kamuzu agreed to a referendum to decide whether to continue under with one party system or multiparty.
“He did this not for personal gains but rather for the benefit of each and every Malawian; thereby, showing his patriotism to mother Malawi,” he pointed out.
Chibambo called upon government to remember local heroes who changed the destiny of this country while they are alive.
“We should not wait for our heroes to die for us to recognise them but rather move forward and accord them the respect they deserve while they still live.
“Let us not erase the history by always remembering those who made it possible for us to be enjoying the fruits of democracy today,” he added.
Thomson is survived by a wife, four children, a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren.-MANA