Malawi: Chakwera Admonishes Double Standards At Kamuzu Memorial

President Lazarus Chakwera on Friday led the nation in commemorating the life of Malawi's first head of state, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, where he gave a spirited talk on the need of the country's citizenry being patriotic.

Kamuzu, fondly referred to as Ngwazi, ruled Malawi for 31 years under the four cornerstones of obedience, loyalty, unity and discipline.

In spite of being hailed as one who laid the foundation of the new Malawi--formerly known as Nyasaland--Dr. Banda is also remembered as a man who ruled the country for three decades with an iron fist.

For instance, during his inauguration as Bishop of Karonga Diocese in November 2010, Bishop Martin Mtumbuka, described Banda as "a bad dictator."

But in his address to hundreds that gathered at Kamuzu's state-built mausoleum in the capital Lilongwe, President Chakwera emphasized that Malawians needed to "honour the founding head of state by being patriotic."

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader and ex-cleric went off script and reprimanded "those that are divisive and fond of double standards," saying it was time they made a u-turn from their vices and started serving their country.

"The powers of this office will only be used to serve you and not to rule you," said Chakwera.

According to Chakwera, there were people that surrounded him that were always trying to imbue elements of totalitarianism in him but said that was wrong.

"Some of you are always saying that things will work if there is some dictatorship. We are the ones who are failing our presidents. Let's do away with backbiting, and don't interfere in matters that don't concern you," said Chakwera amid heavy clapping from UTM party supporters, a development that also had vice president Saulos Chilima stand and clap in unison.

Earlier, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Michael Usi, said Dr. Banda was "a selfless character" who chose to be a patriotic Malawian as he left "a comfortable life in the United Kingdom to serve his people."

And in his remarks, expelled labour minister, Ken Kandodo Banda, who spoke on behalf of the family gave a special tribute to Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira--Kamuzu's official hostess--for "dedicating her life to serving Banda."

Kandodo also thanked the Malawi government "for honouring their son" and building a state-of-the art mausoleum during Bingu wa Mutharika's tenure which was completed in 2006.

But he asked government "to consider fencing the mausoleum, putting up a museum, a library and toilets at the place."

Dr. Banda is said to have been born on May 14, 1901 in Kasungu, central Malawi. He died on November 25, 1997 and was laid to rest on December 3.

More From: Nyasa Times

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