On Kamuzu Day: Analysts urge Chakwera to 'modernise' Ngwazi's vision

Kamuzu Banda

Today, May 14, 2021 marks exactly 24 years since Malawi's First President Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda passed on, but his legacy including infrastructure developments among others live on.

Just like the late Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi's current President Lazarus Chakwera appears to idolise late Kamuzu's leadership traits.

For instance, when he attended last year's Kamuzu Memorial Services, then as the presidential candidate of the Tonse Alliance, Chakwera pledged to continue with Kamuzu's legacy once voted into power.

One year down the line, the President prefers Mtunthama State Residences just like late Kamuzu.

He also reverted the position of Chief Secretary to Government (CSG) to it's old name of Secretary to President and Cabinet (SPC), among other things. 

However, the President received a lot of pressure from among others gender activists when he changed the Ministry of Gender, Children and Disability to Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. This was how Kamuzu named this ministry.

The activists had argued issues of gender are coming into play because of democracy hence it's omission is catastrophic.

Chipofya: Time for soul searching

Political Analyst, Victor Chipofya says while Kamuzu can be regarded as a stepping stone, there is need to trade carefully considering that things have changed including governance.

"This is the time as a country to do a soul search to say where is it that we missed it, where have we gone wrong and how can we move forward, and moving forward does not mean that we go back to live the Kamuzu days but rather we need to go back and say what new things can we develop.

"Of course, Kamuzu would be a stepping stone for us as a country because we are standing on his shoulders as the father of the nation, saying what is it that we can borrow from how Kamuzu governed and what is it that we can borrow from how our democratic leaders have governed, and now how can we make a hybrid like kind of leadership to move the country forward," says Chipofya.

Betchani Tchereni
Tchereni: Times have changed

Economic commentator, Betchani Tchereni, a lecturer at the Malawi University of Business and Science (Mubas) described recent decision to switch from tobacco to mining industry as a ''modernity''  economic drive for the country.

"Times have changed and with the changes of time what it means is that there has been some modernity and opening up to trade in many areas hence certain things may not happen the way they happened during the late Kamuzu's era. You notice that there is a lot of desire to venture into projects that are seen not to have a quicker gestation period like the mining industry," says Tchereni.

Social commentator, Wonderful Mkhutche, concurs with Tchereni saying Chakwera has done well to ensure that the country just like during Kamuzu era practices economy diversification.

Idolises Kamuzu: Chakwera

"There is an element of economy diversification which was a well known leadership act by the late Kamuzu Banda. This is the same path the current leadership has taken to move away from tobacco into mining. So that's an element showing that they are able to refer to the past and then act using that foundation," says Mkhutche.

On the other hand, Historian Crispin Mphande, feels Chakwera's leadership is on the right track considering that it is committed to continuity of projects.

Mphande argues that late Kamuzu Banda practiced concept of continuity of projects despite being a one party state.

"What we can now see is the element of continuity because as the country what we lacked in the past regimes between 1994 up to time the time the former president, Peter Mutharika took over, there was lack of continuity. 

"But what we have seen from the Tonse administration so far is that they have carried on those development projects which the previous regime started, that's what we need as a country. And they are also popularising the agenda 2063 that's what we need as a country because for us to grow we need that kind of continuity," says Mphande.

Late Kamuzu Banda ruled Malawi for 31 years and among others is praised for liberating Malawians from the Britain's colonial rule.