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Sadc honours Kamuzu, others

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HONOURED—Kandodo (left) receives Banda’s medal from Ramaphosa as Tshisekedi (centre) and Chakwera look on

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Wednesday honoured Malawi’s founding president the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda and seven other former presidents who founded the regional bloc.

The awards were presented by outgoing Sadc Chairperson and Malawi leader Lazarus Chakwera and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who is chairperson of Sadc Organ for Defence and Security at the 42nd Ordinary Sadc Summit of Heads State and Government in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Banda’s grand nephew and Kasungu Central Member of Parliament Ken Kandodo received the medal on behalf of the late former president’s family.

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Kandodo described the award as an honour to the family and the people of Malawi.

“This honour really belongs to all Malawians as they all played a part in helping Dr Banda to liberate this country from the colonial bondage and bring about independence. So this is a day of great joy for us all as one of our own gets recognition by our leaders within southern Africa.

“Secondly, it is an honour that the ceremony has taken place at a time when our own current Head of State, His Excellency Dr Lazarus Chakwera was chairperson of Sadc. As a Malawian, it was gratifying to see the huge applause given to our President as he handed over the chairmanship to his DRC counterpart soon after the medals ceremony,” Kandodo said.

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He added that Banda’s family is indebted to Chakwera and the Government of Malawi for nominating the late leader for the award and enabling them to attend the occasion.

Sadc officials said the awards were organised to raise awareness on the role the founding fathers played in establishing the regional bloc.

Other Sadc founders honoured yesterday included Agostinho Neto of Angola, Seretse Khama of Botswana, King Sobhuza II of Eswatini, Samora Machel of Mozambique, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Chakwera has handed over the Sadc chairmanship to DRC president Félix Antoine Tshisekedi.

In his handover address, Chakwera challenged African leaders to pull resources together through the private sector to fund the region’s development projects.

He charged that there is no one outside Africa who is coming to build Africa the way Africans want it to be built.

“Not the Americans. Not the Europeans. Not the Asians. They may give us a road here and there, a stadium or two, a few million dollars that are nothing more than pocket change to them and that are nothing compared to the amounts they give each other as Westerners or Easterners.

“We need serious resources here and there is no one who is going to hand it to us. For this reason, we must create our own pools of developmental resources,” the President said.

He also underscored the need for Sadc leaders to get their act together and work together to protect the available resources and turn them into the key for unlocking the region’s economic potential.

“If we do not do that, the forces we all know are already in our region from the West and the East will surely succeed in their intentions to steal them from us.

“I know it is not politically correct to say that, but we should not pretend that these nations are not run by governments with a long history and track record of theft,” Chakwera said.

The Malawi leader said if the world wants what Sadc has, they must buy it in a fair trade so that the region can use the proceeds to build new cities, universities, infrastructure, industries and programmes that will lift the people of the region out of poverty.

“With the resources we have, we refuse to be anyone’s beggar and with the unity we have, we must refuse to let anyone steal from us or use us to steal from our people or each other.

“The plunder that we have allowed the West to conduct here in the DRC is a sin we need to repent of, resolve and refuse to see repeated anywhere else in our region,” Chakwera said.

Addressing a Sadc summit for the first time, Zambia President Hakainde Hichilema stressed the need for the Sadc region to remain peaceful.

On his part, Sadc Executive Secretary, Elias Magosi, said the Sadc region needs to promote macroeconomic stability and consolidation in the region.

Magosi said this is needed to win business confidence and ensure predictability in the continent’s economies.

He also urged Sadc countries to address the energy deficits that the region continues to face with many countries producing below capacity.

Sadc started in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1980 as the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference.

It was formed to advance the cause of national political liberation in Southern Africa and to reduce dependence particularly on the then apartheid era South Africa; through effective coordination of utilisation of the specific characteristics and strengths of each country and its resources.

Sadcc objectives went beyond just dependence reduction to embrace basic development and regional integration.

In 1992, heads of government of the region agreed to transform Sadcc into Sadc with the focus on integration of economic development.

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