Focus Gwede was buried on Tuesday after succumbing to death at the age of 82. The immediate reaction of many was ooh, he was still alive? I am sure the biggest thought of the day my have come from Sam Mpasu, political prisoner number 75.
Some strange historians at MBC have tried to potray Gwede as a victim of the one party system, yet to the contrary he was one of the pillars of terror which left thousands dead, exiled and seperated from their loved ones.
Focus Gwede was among the top three Police commanders- heading the notorious Special Branch which specialised on spying and eleminating innocent Malawians whose mind, writings and sometimes speeches did not match with the expectations and thoughts of His Excellency the Life President Ngwazi Dr. H Kamuzu Banda.
Gwede, as Mpasu notes in his book represented the ruthlessness of the system, created the worsk conditions in prisons with the most ironic story being of one afternoon when he visited Mikuyu Prison in Zomba where he found political detainees relaxing and basking in the afternoon sun.
He asked why they were not chained as dangerous people who wanted to topple Kamuzu and they responded they were waiting for afternoon tea. It is claimed he screamed that prison was meant to punish people and he ordered a new wing for political prisoners and new conditions including eating food once a day.
As fate would have it, Gwede was among the first people to occupy the new buildings after they were completed. He had fallen out of favour and he was punished right on earth.
When someone tried to bring Gwede on MBC TV, i felt sorry for the thousands he had sent to their early grave, the many that he had beaten or created lies on their behalf and they suffered.
But in his eyes, as I would see in pictures my colleagues would take when the visited with Juman Johansson, a man who claims to be the late Kamuzu's son, I saw eyes of a defeated man.
Life had not been kind to this once most feared name in Malawi security apparatus. He lived recalling his glorious old days which were never to come, until March 14, 2011 when God recalled him.
Bitterness, no. My grandfather Themba Katumbi was beaten by Gwanda Chakuamba during the 1973 MCP convention when they accepted an apology from Manoah Chirwa requesting that he comes back. Despite being given the agenda by the MCP officials who led by Chakuamba turned against them and accused them of being rebels.
I met the old man who would die a few months before the return of multiparty democracy after he was released closer to a six July. We picked him from Chitawira at his sons house and we spent an afternoon with him- he told strange stories of eating fresh matemba as they best meal offered in prison.
I was young and do not have many parts of his story, but later I met Chakuamba as a Journalists, he had no recollection that he was talking to one of he people whose families he had victimised.
When he lost elections in 1999, 2004 and played second fiddle to everybody in 2009, I said God surely has punished him enough for his sins.
Chakuamba has reappeared at Bingu's launch of African Dream, but politically he is finished.
Just as it was easy to forgive and feel sorry for Chakuamba, Gwede deserves forgiveness by all those that he had tortured and killed. His passing is just another reminder of how far Malawi has come to be where we are.
Today, Malawians find themselves at crossroads, with some defending Government's actions seen as retrogressive, others have what President Bakili Muluzi would call a forgetting syndrome.
With the passing of Focus Martin Gwede, people should be reminded that Governance and public offices are temporarly in life. There will be time to account for our decisions, here on earth or in heaven.
Gwede's passing should invoke most of our leaders to be more accountable to the public and work in the interest of the same at all times. Otherwise, people will be smiling on your death.
Rest In Peace Gwede, am sure you died a reformed man having seen how cruel the World of politics turned against you!