Malawi government to take over Kamuzu Memorial


Malawi government says it is going to take over the organising of important national events like the Kamuzu Day celebrations after being convinced that its involvement will make them more encompassing.

During the Kamuzu Day celebrations held in Lilongwe last week, former president Bakili Muluzi asked government to participate in organising the Kamuzu Day celebrations as a way of honouring Malawi’s founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

He said leaving the organising of the Kamuzu memorial to the concerned family does not reflect the unity that Kamuzu himself always advocated.


In an interview yesterday, government spokesperson Kondwani Nankhumwa said plans are at an advanced stage for government to take over events that are nationally and culturally important.

He said the Department of Culture, under the Ministry of Information, Tourism and Culture, is working on procedures that have to be followed in the organisation of important events that include national festivals such as the Kamuzu Day celebrations.

“These are part of our history and as government we believe that one way of preserving them is by taking a leading role in organising them. So yes, government is taking over organising these important events,” said Nankhumwa.


He added that even before Muluzi’s appeal, government had already been reflecting on the best way of organising important national events.

“We will be producing a Cabinet paper that should capture the concept of organising the events which will be presented to Cabinet for approval,” said Nankhumwa whose ministry embodies the Department of Culture.

Meanwhile, some observers have argued that Muluzi should have been the last person to ask government to take a leading role in honouring Kamuzu because “he himself tried his best to erase Kamuzu’s legacy”.

Others are still of the view that by coming out now to appeal to government to organise important national events like the Kamuzu memorial, Muluzi is finally showing signs of maturity “after having seen things in the 20 years of democracy”.

In an interview yesterday, consumer rights activist John Kapito said he was shocked to hear Muluzi asking government to take over the organising of Kamuzu Day celebrations.

“Muluzi did nothing near honouring Kamuzu and it is shocking that he is now asking government to honour Kamuzu. When he was president, he failed to build Kamuzu a proper resting place but Bingu built the Kamuzu Mausoleum.

“Our leaders must learn to be consistent with what they say and do. It is not just a matter of saying something; what is important is doing it. He must go back to his tenure of office and look at how he dishonoured Kamuzu. In fact, what he said is an insult to himself,” said Kapito.

On his part, University of Malawi (Unima) political scientist Blessings Chinsinga said after realising that building a nation is not about breaking what others did before, Muluzi has come out to speak what he feels about how Kamuzu should be treated.

“For me, what Muluzi did was a sign of maturity after having got over the hype of democracy. He now realises that our history is what determines our future and that we cannot completely ignore it,” said Chinsinga.

Apart from removing Kamuzu Day from the list of Malawi’s public holidays, Muluzi replaced the name ‘Kamuzu’ with ‘Lilongwe’ in institutions such as Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) and Kamuzu International Airport (KIA).

He also changed Kamuzu Stadium to Chichiri Stadium and Kamuzu Highway was called Masauko Chipembere Highway during Muluzi’s time.

But his successor Bingu wa Mutharika restored the name ‘Kamuzu’ on the referral hospital, the airport, the stadium and the highway.

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