Chilima under fire for describing Malawi dictator Kamuzu as ‘champion of democracy’

State vice-president Saulos Chilima has come under intense fire for describing founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda –  an autocrat with a streak of brutality who ruled Malawi for 31 years of one-party dictatorship –  as champion of democracy.

Chilima has hailed Kamuzu Banda  as champions of democracy but critics say in reality Kamuzu was a champion of atrocities and poor human rights record

Chilima, whose party, UTM is in political alliance with Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and seven other tiny parties, described Kamuzu Banda as a “champion of democracy” for accepting to hold a referendum on June 14, 1993 on whether the country should adopt multiparty democracy or not.

He said this during the commemoration of Kamuzu Day events on Thursday at the former head of state’s mausoleum in Lilongwe.

However, the 1994 elections were held only after anti-government riots and an aid freeze by Western donors, who pressured  Kamuzu to abandon repressive policies as post-Cold War reforms swept across Africa. Chilima, as a suniversity student activist, was among frontline troops who campaigned against Kamuzu and trumpeted democracy.

As a prelude to the elections, Kamuzu was forced to hold a nonbinding referendum in which Malawians voted overwhelmingly to end the country’s one-party system.

Some Malawians, taking up on various social media platforms, said Chilima said this just to please his alliance partners, the MCP which has many members of Kamuzu family in its executive committee.

Writing on his Facebook wall, Chancy Mlogeni said: “The democracy did not come on a silver platter. Kamuzu resisted change in all fronts. He killed or jailed or those who advocated for multiparty democracy. Chakufwa Chihana and Bakili Muluzi were unfortunate that they were jailed, others were killed just for advocating for multiparty democracy.”

Ngeyi Kanyongolo, a lecturer at Chancellor College also wrote that what she remembers about Kamuzu Banda are stories of a young student (now husband) who spent months in prison together with his friends for unspecified “revolutionary rebel” activities.

“Running all the way from Blantyre CBD to Chinyonga as people rioted in Blantyre over multiparty,” she says.

Adack Pafupi also posts that Kamuzu was a “champion of atrocities” and not champion of democracy.

But  commentator  and newspaper columnist Emily Mkamanga argues that Kamuzu left an “indelible mark” on infrastructure development and service delivery.

Using Kamuzu’s name for selfish political agenda will remain a political game in Malawi for generations to come.

Kamuzu led Malawi to independence in 1964 and went on to head one of Africa’s most brutal and isolated dictatorships for three decades. He was ousted in 1994  by Bakili Muluzi in the country’s first democratic elections.

During Banda’s rule, thousands of political opponents were killed, tortured, jailed without trial or hounded into exile. He was known for peculiar dictates that banned long hair on men, short skirts on women and even the Simon and Garfunkel song “Cecilia″ in deference to Kadzamira, who held the title of “official hostess.″

Mama Cecilia Kadzamaira met Kamuzu while working as a young nurse at a clinic Kamuzu  owned before independence. Though constant companions, they never married and Kamuzu never admitted to having children though one  Jumani Kamuzu Banda appeared some years ago to claim he was son to Kamuzu. Jumani mysteriously died recently.

Kamuzu, known as the Ngwazi, chief of chiefs or conqueror in the local Chewa language, was always seen in public in an austere dark suit, black Homburg hat and waving a lion’s tail fly whisk.

 

 

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VP wamuyaya chilima.

Kamuzu was never a champion of democracy as baby chilima is putting it. Kamuzu did not initiate multiparty democracy, that’s why there was a referendum to force democracy into practice. And MCP (37% that time) resisted democracy together with their Kamuzu. Ndiye iwe kachilima ukuti chani? Usatitukwanitse wamva!!!!

Please do not confuse development with democracy. Just because China is developed we can’t conclude that it is a democracy. Anthu ankaphedwa ngati mbewa in this country and is that what you call democracy? Shupiti chilima.

Tizanka
Tizanka
1 year ago

Kamuzu the Democrat kkkk kkkk yah, politicians will say anything to get elected indeed. Timva zambili chaka chiko hahahah

TAC T TAC T
TAC T TAC T
1 year ago

The article authors should take these opinions too, he quickly wrote, Chilima under Fire.. Hahaha!!! one can laugh at the heading, Kamuzu accepted change indeed and he left the office after the majority ruled.

koko
1 year ago

Kamuzu was a great man. Look at hospitals in Malawi Kamuzu Central Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital was built during Kamuzu Banda. The so called Presidents what have they achieved nothing only corruption. Learn to appreciate good things .
Thanks Chilima. Keep Resting in peace Angwazi.

Observer
1 year ago

Do not rewrite History because you hate the man. Learn to appreciate what the man did.
If you talk about killings, which president of the multi party era has not killed? May be only Joyce. But Bingu killed hundreds. Muluzi butchered people and Peter is still slaughtering the likes of Njaunju and albinos. With this chisankho coming, warn the albinos to go into hiding because Peter will be at it again to win using his Satanism.

A Bakha a Blue
A Bakha a Blue
1 year ago

Kamuzu New when the winds of change had come, he left with cllass and dignity osati Mr Maliseche kukakakmila

Standwell Syrod
Standwell Syrod
1 year ago
Reply to  A Bakha a Blue

Zoona zake, kukakamira ngati udindo anachita kuchoka nawo kwawo but time here now for him to leave the office.

Lilo
Lilo
1 year ago
Reply to  A Bakha a Blue

It took more than 30 years for Kamuzu Banda to fall and accept democracy and the main reason was because he was VERY old. After killing thousands, imprisoning thousands and exiling thousands – he was TOO old in his 90s and he could no longer fight. People who talk about Kamuzu accepting democracy always forget this fact.

Omex70
Omex70
1 year ago

Right Honourable Chilima was very right. Dr Kamuzu Banda did not cling to power when he knew that people wanted change. He had all powers to say no to the idea of Referendum. But he allowed the referendum to be freely conducted and he graciously accepted the will of the people unlike the leader that we have today who is clinging to power though he knows very well that people out there are geared for a change. Those who are trying to twist what Dr Chilima have a problem and they must be ashamed of themselves.

AKWENI
AKWENI
1 year ago

MBC RADIO WAS MUCH BETTER AFTER 1993 THAN TODAY OPPOSITION WERE GIVEN AIRTIME.

TRUE OR FALSE?? ONLY THOSE WHO WERE THERE SHOULD ANSWER

kanchenga
kanchenga
1 year ago
Reply to  AKWENI

True mboni ndi Bakiliyo. Amayakhula pafupi pafupi ndi anchor Benson Tembo

Mtete
Mtete
1 year ago

Wait a minute.
Was it not Kamuzu who agreed to a REFERENDUM and graciously accepted defeat at the hands of Muluzi? Kamuzu would have rigged the election had he wanted to. He didn’t because to him the will of the people was paramount.
A d please don’t dwell too much on murderous behaviour because, as I write, the line between Kamuzu regime and the current one is getting thiner by the day.
Need I remind you about Chasowa, Njauju, Lule, albinos (here I am reminded of the former cruel MCP member Ntaba) and Area 22 victims recently brutally murdered?

dudha
dudha
1 year ago
Reply to  Mtete

People killed by Kamuzu and MCP: Aaron Gadama, David Chiwanga, Yatuta Chisiza, Dunduzu Chisiza, Dick Matenje, Twaibu Sangala, Muwalo Nqumayo, …….they are in thousands.

Namaseko
Namaseko
1 year ago
Reply to  dudha

People killed by dpp. Countless albinos, chasowa, njaunju, dzana dzanali Mai tambala, ndi mwana dzuloli amunao, 27 people in North eish. Udf nde eeeeeh mabere ndi ma shaft alomwe a mu chiradzulumu alibiletu

President Chisokonezo

There is ignorance there. Kamuzu was chosen democratically in 1964.. He competed Chester Kasonga of CDP. Being chosen democratically does not automatically lead to good governance
.eg. Adolf Hitler.

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