Dzuka Malawi: Redefine yourself, learn from Bakili Muluzi

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.

Former president Bakili Muluzi

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.

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Mlonda B.

wow. here is something we never knew, especially us the young. All we knew was the “black dots” that we were told by those who were there. Thank you for thinking of enlightening. May be its time to change the perspective of our Malawi.
It’snot all on the leaders, the citizens as well. point taken


ngakhale ufulu oyankhula zotumbwu mukuyankhula apazi anabweresa ndi Muluzi yemweyo, mthawi ya Kamuzu mumatchula olo dzina lake inu? ma internet mukunyadirawa mchifukwa cha ndani? mthawi yakamuzu olo wailesi analinayo yekha, ma fone mukunyadira panowa kale ndi kamuzu yekha anali ndi fone. ma shoprite onsewa mumadyadirawa kumakajambulisako zinthunzi zinabwera ndindani? munthu aliyense amakhala ndizolakwika zake koma chair anagwira ntchito.

Kingsley Jika
I have gone through the responses/reactions to the article & I’m impressed by the diversity of opinion & the controlled language. Rudo, you are serving us well to write things that spark healthy debate. I think this is the kind of approach to issues we require, to discuss our affairs freely through a platform of intelligence & togetherness. Let us not lose faith in our democracy, let us teach those who intimidate & hit to parry debate that we love to discuss our affairs & someday somehow the type of democracy we deserve shall land on this land of flames.… Read more »
concerned Citizen

This article is not balanced, it has only looked at positives of Bakili. When writing, there is need to balance so that people should make right judgement. Not one sided story like you have done here. May be the writer was not there that time and some people have provided one sided story.

Dr Phiri
Muluzi was regionalistic that’s why he didn’t want malewezi from Central region to become president. He then opted for little known mutharika also known as Daniel Phiri (MHSRIP). Infact all nepotism and mediocrity we are crying today has its roots to Muluzi. Popanda muluzi Malawi wouldn’t have a president in the name of Bingu wa Mutharika. This hardcore tribalist (Bingu) polarized this once United country by entrenching tribalism and nepotism to its worst levels. Look now all strategic and hot positions in government are a preserve for Lomwes. Popanda Bakili kusankha Bingu bwenzi izi ziliko? Do proper analysis before putting… Read more »

Very brilliant article

chatonda Mvula

The writer has forgotten one very important thing and that he is the one who started corruption in Malawi and also that Bingu, Joyce Banda and Peter are following his foot steps in stealing government money. Peter is the worst because ndi wana omwe tsopano monga tikuoneramu and Chaponda, HMsa, KNmwa Ka..ti just to mention afew. Wake up Malawians. Don;t look on one side of a coin.,


This piece is educative, informative and above all inspiring. Politicians should learn to respect their predecesors and aknowledge that the development they are touting now would not have been possible without the foundations. to hell with such speeches as “we found the country in a mess and dont blame us if we produce and leave mess”.

Harjit Singh Dhanoa

You have forgotten to mention Prof Mapanje who should be called father of democracy
in Malawi. Prof Mapanje was the brave one who along with Brown Mpinganjira were sent to
jail by Dr Banda. Prof Mapanje, Dr John Lwanda were the two who along with other
activists played a major part internationally, in putting pressure on Dr Banda to allow multi party elections.
I played a part during the time.


Your comment is 100% correct,keep it up please.We have people in this country who
only have an eye that sees the negative part of a wonder we have heard
the sentiments of the second commentator.We have a lot of people in this country
with this attitude who are taking us backwards instead of moving forward

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