VJ MWAANGA’S TRIBUTE TO ALEXANDER CHIKWANDA:
‘OF THE 6 OF US IN MY GROUP, I NOW SADLY REMAIN ALONE’
6th MAY 2022.
The passing of my brother and dear friend Alexander Chikwanda has had a significant impact on me, especially in that it has come so soon after the passing of our Fourth Republican President Rupiah Banda.
The reason for my void is not difficult to understand. We literally grew up together and worked very closely during the independence struggle.
The other reason for my huge void is that there were 6 of us that were close friends, brothers and contemporaries during the struggle.
Our group consisted of Rupiah Banda, Ali Simbule, Jethro Mutti, Alexander Chikwanda, Moto Nkama and myself. With the passing of my brother, I am in the lonely position of being the only one left of this group of young, committed and fearless freedom fighters. We all met as young men who were not yet married.
His various roles in govt have aleady been well articulated in the orbituary, and so I shall not want to repeat them here – but it was in 1972 when he was appointed as Health Minister that the beginning of many changes were being implemented. Our free health system, which was trying to bring equality to our still young nation, was being rolled out undee his leadership.
As an individial – he had an admirable intellectual capacity, and was very open minded in his approach to issues. While were fought in the struggle and served in govt together, we were not always on the same side politically. In later years, I was in MMD and he was in the then Opposition PF. His open mind ensired that our brotherhood was not affected in any way. We still maintained our relationship of decades, and a stranger would be surprised to find out that we belonged to opposing Parties.
ABC was a hard worker, and this aspect of his life remained consistent – and even those who disagreed with him on a policy level acknowledged this.
He was a committed family man, and this was never difficult to see.
But he also loved his country, and gave many of his years in its service.
I will miss our many laughters and many discissions going down our long memory lane together.
To my dear sister Margaret – you were his pillar of strength. I thank you for the love and support that you gave him throughout your life together.
To my nephews and nieces – you have a legacy to protect, and I ask you to always bear that in mind.
To the nation as a whole, whether or not you agreed with some of the policy decisions he took is not the issue. What is important is that he made his contribitions – and not many can say that.
Let us remember my brother Alexander Chikwanda for his service to our country.
Vernon J Mwaanga, GOEZ S