Govt takes over Kamuzu Day memorial service

Kamuzu Day

The Malawi Government has taken over the memorial services for Kamuzu Day slated for today at the late president's mausoleum in Lilongwe.

Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda's grand nephew, Ken Kandodo, confirmed this, saying although the government did not fund the event but it is a government function.

"We are happy as a family because this time it will be a government function and the President himself will be present. So we are satisfied and we look forward to a successful event," says Kandodo.

He adds that due to COVID-19 restriction measures the family resolved to only hold the prayers.

"We will just have only prayers at the Mausoleum, as you are aware that we are still in the COVID-19 pandemic situation therefore some of the functions we had wanted to do we can't do them because of the prevailing situation," he says.

A press statement from the state house signed by the Presidential Spokesperson, Brian Banda, says President Chakwera and first lady Monica will arrive as Kamuzu Mausoleum at 9:40 am.

Former President Bakili Muluzi scrapped Kamuzu day off the Malawian holiday calendar list. But his successor Bingu wa Mutharika reinstated it and constructed a mausoleum for the founding president.

Meanwhile, Historian Crispin Mphande, has called for a change in the way Kamuzu Day is celebrated.

Mphande,  a lecturer at Mzuzu University, suggests that among others the event must account for both successes and failures of the Kamuzu Banda regime for the posterity.

"In my view the way we should organise is that there must be citations on what was achieved during the time he was in power. What are the gains made, put them aside and then what are the loses made and do a comperative analysis because as a country we have a history and that history can only be protected if we tell our children what we have gone through. 

"For example there is empirical evidence that between 1967 and 1978 there was growth which was registered. So many companies were there and you could see things moving. Now those things have to be documented.

"The first multiparty government focused much on demonising the gains made during the one party state. Yes they were some challenges but we need to focus on good things that were successfully implemented," he observes.

During the 31 years of late Dr. Kamuzu Banda's regime, May 14 was a public holiday and the celebrations were marked with military honours at the Kamuzu stadium before later in the evening enjoying traditional dances at the State House.