Former Head of State, Dr. Bakili Muluzi has been bestowed by National Planning Commission with the MW2063 Intergeneration Champion award in recognition of the efforts he and his administration of 1994-2004 made in establishing governance institutions and introducing free primary school education in the country.
Muluzi, who said he was greatly honoured for such a prestigious recognition, said the landmark achievements that he has been recognised for — that include establishment of the governance institutions such as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB); the Office of the Ombudsman; Human Rights Commission; the Law Commission; Financial Intelligence Unit; the Public Affairs Committee and others — “would not have been been possible without the support of distinguished men and women” who worked with him.
He made special mention of the support from various sectors such as the civil society; religious organizations; the private sector; the civil service, his Cabinet and all Malawians.
Thus he dedicated the award to the citizenry, saying: “This honour is not mine but belongs to the people of Malawi who gave me all the support I needed. My role was to lead the process and making sure that we deliver and indeed we delivered”.
Amongst the guests present to witness the auspicious occasion included members of Muluzi’s Cabinet, such as Brown Mpinganjira, Rolf Patel, Jaan Sonke, Ziliro Chibambo, Clement Stambuli, Peter Fatch as well as first chairperson of Public Affairs Committee, Rev. Silas Ncozana.
He also paid tribute to “distinguished men and women who were part of the process but are no longer with us”, saying: “I would like in particular to mention late Dr. Justin Malewezi, who served as Vice-Presidentand late Dr. Chakufwa Chihana, who served as second Vice-President.
“I must emphasize that I never led the process to deliver these achievements for personal glory or to earn praise but to make sure that our country was liberated fully to enjoy the fruits of democracy.”
He emphasized that the governance institutions “were established for a purpose — to act as pillars of democracy” adding that “they must be given all the support they need in order for them to execute their functions professionally and according to law”.
“They must be led by men and women of integrity for the good of our democracy. Talking about free primary school education, I know that some people — especially the elite — do not appreciate the importance of free primary education.
“A right to education is a fundamental human right provided for in our Constitution. The introduction of free primary education was part of the poverty reduction strategy which was the hallmark of our administration.”
He commended “the good work that NPC is doing in guiding the country in terms of what needs to be done and where we want to be as a country by the year 2063”.
“I, therefore, call upon all political parties — past, present and those of the future — that these are plans for Malawi and not necessarily for political parties. These plans ought to be supported across the political divide.”
In his speech, NPC Director General, Dr. Thomas Munthali — in the company of his Board chairperson Prof. Richard Mkandawire — said as the first President of Malawi in the multiparty dispensation, Muluzi played a key role and needs to be honoured for his intergeneration initiatives — whose benefits are being enjoyed by the country at large.
“Facts are stubborn because they speak for themselves and remain etched in the annals of history,” he said. “There are many individuals that need to be recognised and you, Dr. Bakili Muluzi stand out and you deserve it.
“The democracy we are enjoying came from selfless sacrifices people like you gave that you even risked your lives for. We don’t take it for granted because your initiatives were for intergeneration.”
Munthali mentioned that the ACB was established as one pillar of governance and that “there are some people who are perfecting it — thus being an intergeneration initiative”.
“There are several other people that need to be recognised at community level, who have been identified for embracing the self reliant theme of MW2063.”
Also present was Kandi Padambo, secretary general of the United Democratic Front (UDF) — the party that Muluzi and most of the guests were part of its formation — who said the former President championed for the enforcement of the law; socio-economic empowerment through MASAF I and II and the free primary education that saw an increase of enrollment from 1.9 million children in 1994 to over 4 million by 2004.
“Secondary schools were increased from 104 in 1994 to 840 by 2004 while vocational skills technical colleges also increased.
“Dr. Muluzi championed for the establishment of Mzuzu University and liberalized the tertiary education sector by allowing creation of private universities. In the health sector, Dr. Muluzi’s administration saw the establishment of modern health facilities that included construction of Mzuzu Central Hospital and district hospitals of Thyolo and Chiradzulu.
He also highlighted that under Muluzi, the country was blessed with the first TV station, MBC Radio 2 and revolutionalised the establishment of mobile phone services first through Telecom Networks — now known simply as TNM.
“Dr. Bakili Muluzi decided that his face should no longer be on coins or banknotes to to honour past heroes bringing with John Chilembwe. In his tenure of office, no project was named after his name.”
Padambo thus applauded NOC that they made the right choice because Muluzi gave a “selfless service to our nation” and described the NPC as an organisation that has individuals of “higher caliber who have no political axe to grind”.
NPC Board chairperson, Richard Mkandawire attested that they are apolitical and made their choice in the Renaissance agenda that is in the MW2063.
“We made a very thorough assessment which involved public sentiments which suggested that Muluzi deserved to be recognised. “Dr. Muluzi championed for many social and economic intergeneration development projects.
“He was a believer of true democracy when he established the governance institutions,” said Mkandawire, while also emphasized that the MW2063 was born after the expiry of Malawi Vision 2020 that Muluzi initiated — saying a lot of positive concepts that were in that development plan but were not fully utilized, have been incorporated in the MW2063.
He thus challenged Muluzi to be part of this self reliant agenda in reaching out to the citizenry on mindset change, which is a pillar for the MW2063, saying: “You are a powerful orator. Your powerful voice and towering leadership should be used to preach on mindset change towards self reliance and worth creation.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :