By Duncan Mlanjira
Mayi Roseby Dinala, who died on Tuesday, was one of longest serving members of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and since 1958 when she was one of the crowd that welcomed the country’s founding President, late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda at Chileka Airport she never wavered in her support for the party.
She never took top party positions but was always there for moral support and never once was she associated with other political parties.
While other MCP members were being politically victimized, none of the parties that ruled the country never said a word our turn against her because she was an individual that was highly respected.
Upon hearing of the death of Mayi Dinala, Eswatini-based Malawian, Madalitso Mzowa recalled that one day he was walking along Jomo Kenyatta Drive heading for Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital to comfort a sick relation.
As he passed by Chitawira Superette, whose building now houses People’s Superette, he met Mayi Dinala who had just purchased some goods and she called out to him: “Mwana iwe tabwera kuno. Tanyamula izi tiye uku (son, come over here — pick these goods and follow me)”.
Mzowa never hesitated and happily obliged and as they headed for her house — less than a 100m away — she engaged him into conversation, saying “ndim’mene zimakhalira kale munthu ukakumana ndi wachikulire umamulandira katundu (this was the old tradition we were told to practise if a young person met a elderly one. It was our duty to help them carry the heavy goods for them”.
Mzowa said the distance was just very short but Mayi Dinala made him wait a bit longer to finish what she had been saying and as he headed for Queens, he felt so happy and proud to have assisted her.
“She was just a joy to be with, may her soul rest in perfect peace,” he said.
Writing on Facebook, Gift Jere recalls that whenever they were about to cross the busy Kenyatta Drive and she was on her porch, she would always shout out to them to be extra careful even without knowing who they were.
Tawina Mengezi Phiri said Mayi Dinala “was the definition of loyalty and the party has lost a pillar of moral and political advice. Fare thee well, Mayi Dinala.”
While Khomzy Kondwanie said her dream of seeing MCP back in power has been accomplished and that finally her soul can now rest in peace: “Go well, mama, rest in God’s glory,” he said.
Sammy Gondwe also agrees that she was a true statesman and that she could have opted to change her party allegiance for personal gain but she might have the belief that things will be better someday for the MCP.
“Hopefully, she has died a happy woman. Let the DPP supporters learn something from her loyalty.”
Dziko Chris recalls that she once partipated in one of the anti-Jane Ansah demonstrations in Blantyre despite her old age at 82.
At her funeral service at St Columba CCAP Church on Wednesday, President Lazarus Chakwera described Mayi Dinala as a woman of passion, action and positive reaction to the country’s development.
The Malawi leader, who travelled from Lilongwe for the funeral, said Dinala’s attributes were necessitated by her unwavering loyalty to MCP, which she dedicatedly served for almost 57 years.
“She was the first long-serving member who joined Malawi Congress Party years back,” Chakwera said. When the party was in opposition for almost 22 years, she never defected to the ruling parties despite seeing her fellows joining them.
“This was the case because she held strongly her allegiances to MCP. Her passion, loyalty and commitment were catalyst for strengthening Malawi Congress Party.”
The Malawi leader, therefore, said the death of Mayi Dinala calls for celebration as she has left a strong legacy which can hardly be forgotten under any circumstances.
“Today, we are mourning Mayi Dinala because she is not with us physically but on a lighter note, her death marks the celebration of her life because of what she has left to MCP and Malawi at large.
“I, therefore, urge each one of us to emulate what Mayi Dinala did and also cling to Christ Jesus for renewal of spiritual being,” said Chakwera, in cognizance that she was just as loyal to the CCAP Chirch and her God.
Mayi Dinala was laid to rest at Chitawira Cemetery a long Kenyatta Drive, just about half a kilometer from her MHC house she lived all her life.
The funeral was attended by hundreds of people despite the strict measures of funerals gatherings should not have more than 50 people, which attracts a fine MK100,000 for non-compliance.
Born on August 8, 1938 from Mbulumbuzi in Chiradzulu, she is survived by seven children, 29 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.—Additional reporting by Memory Chatonda & Arkangel Tembo, MANA