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Lazarus Chakwera to lead Kamuzu memorial


Ken Kandodo

President Lazarus Chakwera will today lead Malawians in celebrating the life of Malawi’s first president, the late Ngwazi Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

Events marking the day will be held at Kamuzu Mausoleum, situated near Parliament Building, in Lilongwe.

State House Press Secretary Brian Banda said Chakwera would attend a memorial service at the mausoleum.

Kamuzu, the father and founder of the Malawi nation, is famous for the risk he took in 1959 when he returned to Malawi from Britain—where he was working as a surgeon—to break what he described as “the stupid Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland”.

He later became Malawi’s Prime Minister in 1963 before leading the country to independence in 1964 with his Malawi Congress Party.

Banda adopted a macroeconomic policy aimed at accelerating economic development for the betterment of Malawians. Kamuzu settled on the Rostow Model of catch-up economics, where Malawi would vigorously pursue import substitution industrialisation.

Under Kamuzu’s reign, Malawi experienced fast-paced infrastructure development in sectors of the economy such as agriculture, transport, education, health and tourism.

Much of this development was funded through the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation, a government-owned corporation or parastatal formed to shore up Malawi’s economy by increasing the volume of agricultural exports and to develop new foreign markets for agricultural produce from Malawi.

Other infrastructure entities were added, such as Malawi Hotels Limited, which undertook massive projects such as the construction of Mount Soche Hotel, Capital Hotel and Mzuzu Hotel. On the industrial side, Malawi Development Corporation was tasked with setting up industries and other businesses.

Former president Bakili Muluzi, who took over from Kamuzu in 1994, Thursday described the late Ngwazi as a great leader and nation-builder.

Muluzi, who served as Cabinet minister under Kamuzu, said the first president preached four cornerstones of unity, loyalty, obedience and discipline.

One of the family members, Ken Kandodo, said the family owes it to Kamuzu for the unity and his efforts to ensure that they attained quality education.

Kandodo said the visionary leader ensured that family members and other people regarded agriculture as an area of significance.

“We will always remember him for all the good things he did to us. He brought us together; [he] ensured that we got educated. He helped the family to be where it is now,” he said.

As the country commemorates this day, Kandodo added that it is important for all governments to build on the foundation Kamuzu laid.

Kamuzu died on November 25 1997 at the Garden City Clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was buried in Lilongwe.

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