Bakili Muluzi is not everyone’s favourate politician. Even Emmie Chanika and others published a whole book on Malawi’s lost decade, the period Muluzi was in power. However almost a decade after leaving office, Muluzi is welcomed, smiled and everyone wants a selfie with him. Everyone thinks Bakili Muluzi had a human face of Malawi presidency.
Very few remember the legacy of human rights and democracy that Muluzi represents. Very few remember the man who redefined our appetite for freedoms and made sure, that long after his leaving office, Malawi should not be the same.
Most Malawians today are complaining, simply because they have not redefined themselves. They have chosen a path to keep quite. They have chosen to take solace on internet and insult, gossip or even disown their country.
How can you disown your motherland and expect to live. If you insult your own country, you only shame yourself, you are part of the failure, your are the reason we are not developing. Collectively we make Malawi.
Back to lessons of Dr. Bakili Muluzi. The man has always dusted himself after every other episode of his life. He is calm, patient and bids his time. Politically he was a very young Secretary General of the feared Malawi Congress Party. He was 27 years only, and entrusted by the feared Kamuzu Banda to run his affairs. How many 27 years old can you trust today to run even your mandazi business?
When his time was up, Muluzi retreated to his home. Later he came up with his friends Jakumusi Bus Service. He never however gave up his passion for Malawi. When the winds of change blew over, Muluzi was among the few brave and courageous Malawians to stand up.
Many Malawians decided to hide and pretend things were okey for 31 years. Dr. Muluzi and others, some of them Edward Bwanali, Harry Thomspon then Chairperson of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ziliro Chiwambo, Alhaji Shaibu Itimu, Arthur Makhalira, Brown Mpinganjira, Dumbo Lemani, Edda Chitalo and her brother Charles Kahumbe, Collins Chizumila, Professor Alufeyo Chilivumbo, Namwaza Banda and others decided to take on Kamuzu Banda when it was dangerous. One of their meetings, running away from the MYP, they held it at Mpaweni Motel. Muluzi appealed for dedication to save Malawi from sinking.
When he finally won, Muluzi was not the best speaker of English. But he picked the best team, passionate advocates like Nyandovi Kerr, Katenga Kaunda, Ireen Chikuni and others were his advisors. His speech writers were all PhD holders- Dr. Timpunza Mvula and at a certain time Dr. Ken Lipenga. Muluzi never had mediocrity around him during his first term.
When there were suspicions about his closest friend and aide Late Dr. Dumbo Lemani, Dr. Muluzi fired him from Cabinet. He never carried excess baggage.
In his first five years, he took over from Nelson Mandela as Chair of Sadc, helped to form Comesa with inaugural meeting in Blantyre (that’s why we have a Comesa hall) and he made friends everywhere. Muluzi’s legacy is deep.
He founded all the human rights institutions you can think of and appointed independent people- strictly Muluzi was never and has never been a tribalist. His closest aides were never from his tribe nor district of origin. The Anti-Corruption Bureau first director Gilton Chiwaula was from Kaphuka in Dedza, his deputy Alexious Nampota was from Thyolo. Enock Chibwana the first Ombudsman was from Dowa and used to bite Government, his Attorney General Peter Fatch was a Sena from Nsanje, his DPP was Kamdoni Nyasulu and later Fahad Assani from Nkhotakota. Father Alfred Nsope headed the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Roosevelt Gondwe Parliament. Mzuzu City Assembly had a Chirwa, Lilongwe Donton Mkandawire and someone else in Blantyre and Zomba. Muluzi never attached a tribe to appointing people.
UDF operatives included Humphreys Mvula from Kasungu, John Dzuwa, Gerlad Johnstone and Kajiso Gondwe.
Later after failure of third term, Muluzi put his heart to campaigning for his chosen successor. He later after failing to run in 2009 elections, he was the first to congratulate Bingu wa Mutharika for beating the MCP/UDF alliance while John Tembo was fuming.
In 2012, he rose to be a statesman again when the death of Mutharika threatened a constitutional crisis with pretenders then pretending to love Peter Mutharika to take over reigns. Muluzi was the first again to recognise the democratic rules that the majority wins. He congratulated Peter Mutharika.
Only a bold man can stand up and own mistake, and for the sake of greater good move on. Most Malawians today are deep into tribal politics and bitterness. They are bitter of the success of Sheperd Bushiri, they are angry with Peter Simbi.
Interestingly most of us are angry on social media, we do not want to take action. We don’t want to be a Bakili Muluzi who dared Kamuzu and won. We don’t want to learn from Bakili that in life you loose some and win some.
Dzuka Malawi, learn from our greatest statesman of our times, Dr. Bakili Muluzi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :