Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the father and founder of the Malawi nation, was born on May 14 (forget what year), so we are told. On this day, thanks to the late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s ‘visionary and dynamic’ thoughts more than a decade years ago, we memorialize a man who always credited himself for booting out the ‘stupid federation.’
Kamuzu, so my generation has been told, was a authoritarian par excellence. A no-nonsense, principled gentleman, who we are also told not only set up most of the infrastructure and style of running the government that we enjoy today—if at all we do—but also a leader who later self-styled himself as a god, and fed those with dissent views to crocodiles.
But it is not his ruling of this country with an iron fist that we remember Kamuzu for. We loathe this. And, after all, the man himself apologized to Malawians for all the wrongs he had committed—knowingly and unknowingly to Malawians. I do not recall listening or reading somewhere of Gwanda Chakuamba or John Zenus Ungapake Tembo apologizing; but, at least I have heard of Reverend Lazarus Chakwera apologizing repeatedly to the Malawian people for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) atrocities, committed under the nose of his predecessor, through his ‘Malawi Watsopano’ stunt.
It does not matter. We will continue to remember Kamuzu for the roads—especially the M1, the infrastructure at the Judiciary, University of Malawi, Reserve Bank of Malawi—the list is endless; but, these pervade the infrastructure development conscious gentleman that was Kamuzu. To be blunt, what Kamuzu did in his 31 year rule instantiates the point that he knew pretty well what he was expected to do as first leader of the nation; that is, to concentrate on building.
There is more: the food security then, jacked-up civil service and high quality education standards. They encapsulate Kamuzu’s rule, so we are told.
Interestingly, this year, Kamuzu Day, falls just six days to general elections. The second tripartite elections after the birth of multipartyism some twenty-five years ago. Talk is rife, propaganda too on the part of all camps—mostly the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the UTM Party and not forgetting the United Democratic Front (UDF). All these—trust me—think they have an edge. They think they could be the next occupiers of Plot No. 1.
It is not a far-fetched notion that this year’s election will be a highly contested election. It is an obvious fact. But, while most think it will be different, this premised on the coming onto the scene of the UTM Party, I beg to differ. The election will not be any different. There has, of course, been spirited euphoria on the coming to political stage of UTM. UTM, like MCP, DPP and UDF, are one and the same thing.
Think of it! The same chaps who were all over Facebook doing political whoopla for MCP, PP, or DPP are the ones that are now making us believe that the UTM package is the best this nation can have. The vice versa has happened, or, if I may put it, the chaps that are creating tumult all over social media, to the extent of faking deaths, are one and the same, all with eyes focused on a common denominator—money!
I mean the DPP has the same politicians that are embroiled not in one, but a myriad of corruption scandals and a handful suspicious, politically orchestrated deaths. The same with MCP; its bunch of those in the ranks and files of the party those of their electoral partner the People’s Party (PP) are not spared neither: the infamous cashgate cases, and a battalion of tax and duty evasion cases haunts them.
And the UTM? They are on and the same thing. In their camp they have those that, too, have corruption scandals, murder connected cases and the list goes on? Need I talk about Robert Chasowa, the fourth-year engineering student who was found dead at The Polytechnic? And, well, there young Atupele and his UDF, riding on the sins of his father.
So, to me, this politicking that is making us lose our heads is complete balderdash. There is more to life beyond May 21. At least, as we commemorate Kamuzu today, let his philosophy of ‘umunthuism’ take charge so that we exercise ourselves with utmost discipline—a virtue, I am certain he cherished so much.
Happy Kamuzu Day to you all!
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