African continent has the capacity to lift itself out of the economic and social challenges it is currently facing and one of the tools to use in fighting the vices is football, former Malawi head of state Bakili Muluzi said at an African Union football match.
Muluzi was speaking to a sizeable crowd that gathered at the Kamuzu stadium in Blantyre on Saturday for a ceremonial soccer match that drew participants from 22 African countries and he was the guest of honour.
The event was organized by the State of the Union (SoTU), which is a coalition of civil society groups from nine different countries in Africa under the banner ‘Play for the Union’ campaign and Football Association of Malawi in the quest of garning support across the African citizenry to call on governments to ratify and implement several charters for a better Africa.
Muluzi took the opportunity to plead with African states, including Malawi, to adhere to the rule of law and promote good governance.
He said Africa has for decades been divided along racial lines citing the example of apartheid and Thangata in South Africa and Malawi respectively.
Muluzi therefore told the cheering crowd that it was time the continent claimed its rightful position by coming together as a unified continent.
“Football has the potential to unite us as Africans,” he said. “Look today a simple game like this one has managed to bring together people from across the continent; it actually shows that this beautiful game is one of the tools that can enhance unity.”
“It is therefore incumbent upon our leaders to ensure that principles of human rights, good governance, democracy and the rule of law are being upheld from time to time,” said Muluzi who was making his maiden official appearance on the local scene as former president since retiring in 2004 due to bad blood that existed with his successor-turned-nemesis late Bingu wa Mutharika.
Hail President Banda
Muluzi also hailed Malawi leader Mrs. Joyce Banda saying she has known her as an African women with democratic values, hence he expects her government to champion unity with fellow African states.
“Let me also recognize the role Her Excellency the President and her government has played in ensuring that the event takes place, it shows that our President is committed to promoting unity among African states,” added Muluzi.
But Muluzi said “democracy is a process not an event. We should always guard against it.”
The former president who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004 said for the past five years democracy was being suppressed in Malawi.
Among those that also attended the event include Sports and Youth Development Minister Enoch u Chihana who hailed the former president for making himself available for the activities.
Other important guests were the event’s organizing coordinator Jamillah Mwanjisi.
Coincidentally, the Minister’s father late Chakufwa Chihana together with Muluzi led the fight for multiparty democracy in Malawi.
Muluzi also pointed out that he has long be associated with football having being secretary general of Mighty Wanderers FC and sponsored Big Bullets FC .
Former African footballer of the year awardee Patrick Mboma and Ethiopian coach John Teseme each led the teams also comprising Malawian nutritionist Christine Selemani.
Meanwhile, the country music maestro Lucius Banda and the Zembani Band spiced the occasion with live performances.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :