Former president Bakili Muluzi and Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe have spoken about top economist Professor Mathews Chikaonda, a former Cabinet minister and corporate executive who has died in California, United Stated.
Chikaonda is a former group chief executive officer at the dual-listed conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL) and also worked as governor of Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
Former president Muluzi who appointed Chikaonda as RBM Governor in 1995 and served in the post until March 2000 when he was appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning his administration, paid tribute to the economist who was famous for his 10-point plan during his tenure as minister.
Muluzi said he was saddened that Malawi has lost a person who made “huge contribution” both as RBM governor and Cabinet minister.
“I worked with professor Chikaonda for many, many years. I called him from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada where he was teaching when I was Head of State in 1994 and pursuaded him to return to Malawi and contribute to national development. He was a well experienced and knowledgeable,” he said.
Added Muluzi; “Chikaonda was an honest man who could correct me whenever I was going wrong.”
Muluzi aid Chikaonda was “straightforward” on offering advice, saying he was “brilliant”, saying though some point in his 10-point plan did not work out – the guidelines were very good.
Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe described Chikaonda as a “wonderful colleague”.
Gondwe said he approached Chikaonda several times on guidance on economic issues.
Economists Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Chikumbutso Kalilombe said Chikaonda contributed greatly to the development of the country and “will be greatly missed”.
Chief Executive Officer of Nation Publications Limited, Mbumba Banda described Chikaonda as a true “friend indeed is a friend in need.”
She remembered Chikaonda for helping the leading newspaper house when government imposed an advertising ban.
PCL group CEO George Partridge, who succeed Chikaonda, said it had been “a privilege” to work with Chikaonda, describing him as “outstanding”.
Justine Malewezi, who was vice president to Muluzi, also said Chikaonda’s death was abig loss to the nation.
“He was a very passionate man in economics,” said Malewezi.
Malewezi said his thoughts were with his family and colleagues after hearing about his death.
Chikaonda was born on 8 August 1954 has died after a long battle of cancer. He is survived by his wife, Violet and three children.
He held a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in finance from the University of Massachusetts, US obtained between 1984 and 1989. Hre also held a master of business administration (MBA) from the Wharton School, University of Pennslvania obtained between 1981 and 1983.
Cikaonda also held bachelor of arts (BA) degree with honours from the Council for National Academic Awards at Huddersfield University in the United Kingdom (UK) obtained between 1976 and 1980 and a diploma in business studies from the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
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