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Malawi celebrates Kamuzu Banda

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LAID SOLID FOUNDATIONS—Kamuzu

He undoubtedly laid a solid foundation for Malawi’s development framework which, over the years, the country has failed to build upon

All roads lead to the Kamuzu Mausoleum at City Centre in Lilongwe today as the country commemorates the father and founder of the Malawi nation, Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

The event is this year being commemorated under the theme ‘Reflecting the culture of unity in diversity and contact and dialogue for nation building’ and is being coordinated by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture.

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Government took over organisation of the event from Kamuzu’s family in an effort to honour foundations of the country’s development that Banda laid in his 31-year rule, which was characterised by bumper yields, quality education and efficient health service delivery, among others.

Minister of Tourism Michael Usi said Friday that it is important to celebrate the life of Kamuzu Banda and his philosophies.

“Dr. Banda remains an icon for us as a country and his philosophies are what have taken us where we are now. His name carries development connotation. He believed in contact and dialogue, he trusted in unity and peace. Malawi needs unity and peace.

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“So, when you reflect on these cardinal principles you will appreciate the need for us to emulate and pursue that so that we can gain dividends as far as development of the country is concerned,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Banda’s family, Member of Parliament for Kasungu Central Constituency Ken Kandodo said the best way to honour Malawi’s first president on this day and days to come is for leaders to continue pursuing the economic trajectory that Kamuzu set for the country.

He said Kamuzu was passionate about the welfare of common citizens; hence his emphasis on agriculture to ensure food security, proper housing and education for socio-economic development.

Kandodo said subsequent governments have a duty to continue from where Kamuzu left in developing the nation, saying with a shared vision Malawi has the potential to achieve all what Kamuzu intended.

“Kamuzu believed that for this country to develop, we needed to invest in farming so he went about setting up the Agriculture Development Divisions (ADDs), the tobacco value chain and a stand-alone ministry. Through that Malawi has had various exports which have boosted the economy all these years,” he said.

Kandodo, who is one of Kamuzu’s grandchildren, also stressed that the former president was passionate about education as evidenced by the various academic institutions that he set up like the historic Kamuzu Academy, Kamuzu College of Health Sciences and the Bunda College of Agriculture, now a college under the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).

He then hailed President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration for what he described as high regard for the country’s first president.

“I am happy that many of the successive governments have tried to continue and build on many of those projects. This government is doing more than some of the previous governments, such that they have corrected some of the problems that have been there for some time, so I am really pleased with how this government is undertaking the economic endeavours,” Kandodo explained.

Political commentator Ernest Thindwa said Kamuzu Day remains relevant to Malawi as it represents a leader who attempted to unite Malawians in various ways.

Banda challenged the British colonial power and took over the reins in 1964 with a declaration of Malawi’s independence.

He got out of power in 1994 and died in South Africa on November 25, 1997 leaving behind a legacy of a clear and consistent development strategy for Malawi.

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