Malawi commemorates Kamuzu Day: CHRR, CEDEP calls for heroes policy

As Malawi commemorates Kamuzu Day on May 14y, two leading civil society groups in the area of good governance and human rights have urged the government to expedite the process of putting in place a Heroes’ Policy to guide the country on whom to accord the Hero or Heroine accolade.

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) made the call in a joint statement made available to Nyasa Times.

CHRR and CEDEP believe that the absence of the Heroes’ Policy to determine the recipients of the accolade has short-changed so many great sons and daughters of Malawi whose great achievements to the country have gone unnoticed or never celebrated.

“We [as a country] have failed to recognise their great deeds to this country just because we do not have a guide to identify and recognise them,” the groups said.

Kamuzu Banda

Kamuzu Banda

“In simple terms, we do not have a clear blueprint that guides our decisions on who to call a Hero or heroine. We therefore take this Kamuzu Day commemoration to once again call upon government to strongly consider expediting the process on putting in place a hero’s policy,” reads the statement signed by Cedep executive director Gift Trapence and CHRR’s Undule Mwakasungula.

Remembering Kamuzu

As regards to the commemoration of this year’s Kamuzu day, the statement appeals to Malawians to soberly reflect on the life of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda founding president of Malawi.

“As defenders of human rights, rule of law and good governance, we at CHRR and CEDEP believe that this auspicious day accords all citizenry across political, social, religious or regional divide a rare opportunity to celebrate the life of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda who, apart from successfully resisting the colonial rule, laid the foundations of our independent Malawi and also helped the country register some considerable strides in development particularly in the area of agriculture and economic stability.”

While acknowledging the vices that characterised Kamuzu’s era, the two human rights organisations call on Malawians including politicians to positively learn from such malpractices and embrace the values of democracy in order to avoid a repeat of them

“We at CHRR and CEDEP also recognise that at the heart of Banda’s 30 year rule are serious forms of human rights abuses and violations especially inflicted on the critics of the regime.  Such a dark side of Banda’s rule should hence serve as lessons to all of us especially those in the ruling on the need to embrace democratic values, rule of law and good governance in order to avoid a repeat of the evils that marred Kamuzu’s era” reads part the statement.

May 14, Kamuzu Day, is a public holiday in honour of the founding president in view of resounding contributions he made to the development of the country.

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