Lest we forget Kamuzu

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Did Malawi really need corner stones?— Page 5 Was Kamuzu responsible for all violence, killings? — Page 10

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Special Essay

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Lest we forget Kamuzu
t is again time to remember Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the father and founder of the Malawi nation, who died on November 25 1997. It is the same old story which no one has the mastery to tell it any better but it must still be told in his remembrance, lest we forget and may his soul rest in peace. Kamuzu was born in the Mphonongo Banda family of Kasungu. Between 1916 and 1937, he pursued his studies until he graduated as a medical doctor. He worked in the UK and Ghana before returning home on July 6 1958 at the invitation of some Malawian nationalists to lead the struggle against the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. A month after his arrival in the country, he was made leader of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC), a forerunner of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). He was well received across the country during his familiarisation tour as he campaigned for freedom from the British bondage. By March 3 1959, the political situation in Malawi had become so untenable to the extent that a State of Emergency was declared, leading to Kamuzu’s arrest alongside hundreds other Malawians during what the colonialists dubbed as ‘Operation Sunrise’. He was imprisoned in Gwero, Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia). Kamuzu was released from prison on April 1 1960 and following elections in 1961, he was nominated minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Local Government before becoming prime minister on February 1 1963. He became president on July 6 1964 when the country gained its independence from Britain. In 1966, a new Constitution of the Republic of Malawi was passed that made the country a one-party State with Dr Banda as the first President. He was later referred to as Life President until he was swept away by the wind of democratic change in 1994 following a ‘yes’ vote to plural politics in 1993. Kamuzu the person, the leader The Ngwazi, as he was fondly called, was a man of great character, a keen follower of histories of other world great leaders. He was a man of great commitment, courage, enormous confidence in himself, tough and no nonsense leader. He had strong leadership capabilities that benefited from cognitive knowledge he gained from his vast studies and work experience gained abroad. This placed him in an envious position, enabling him to provide sound leadership in matters of the State. He was an all-round

by Humphrey C. Mvula, political analyst

The following are the hot institutions that are playing a role in preserving the history of this country.
1. CHRR 2. Escom 3. Illovo 4. Kamuzu Academy 5. Kamuzu Family 6. Malawi Revenue Authority 7. Ministry of Energy 8. Ministry of Justice 9. Ministry of Mining 10. Muscco 11. Northern Region Water Board 12. Teveta

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Kamuzu waves at his admirers

FAST FACTS

leader who took to the presidency the theory from his studies and experience from his overseas association. He had exceptional political leadership skills that enabled him to identify opportunities existing in a situation of political need. For example, he got the South African Government to build the capital city in Lilongwe because he supported the apartheid system at the expense of rallying support to the liberation movement, the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC). Of course, some quarters castigated him of his stand on apartheid, but he vowed to pursue that path which would benefit his people. If facts must be told, the story of Kamuzu is incomplete if it does not highlight his achievements in areas of agriculture, education and health. Agriculture For his keen interest in agriculture, Kamuzu earned himself praise as Mchikumbe Number 1. He strived for food security at household level and during his reign, Malawi made tremendous strides in that area through various initiatives. There were comprehensive reviews on production for both food and cash crops, developed the livestock, poultry, fisheries and agri-business

sectors while enhancing marketing of these crops and animals through Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc). In his time, the entire agriculture sector revolved around Admarc. He made things happen in the agriculture sector through many initiatives including the following: 1. Agricultural research, emphasising on improvements in the methods of seed selection and seed storage, preferring the introduction of high quality seeds developed on exchange from locale seeds with other locales. 2. Believed in the promotion of field extension work of agricultural experts through the introduction of so many

agricultural development divisions (ADD) and extension planning areas (EPA). These institutions provided frontline agricultural training and facilitation for local farmers. 3. Commenced on a gradual basis equipment and tools improvement for cultivation, threshing, milling and transportation of farm produce. The Ngwazi, through Malawi Development Corporation (MDC), had a subsidiary Agrimal charged with responsibilityofmanufacturing farm implements. 4. With the help of foreign governments notably Taiwan and Israel, the Ngwazi PAGE 3

kamuzu

 Kamuzu was released from prison on April 1 1960 and following elections in 1961, he was nominated minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Local Government before becoming prime minister on February 1 1963.  To demonstrate his commitment to quality education, Kamuzu personally founded Kamuzu Academy, a private school modelled on one of the best schools in the UK, Eton.  Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the father and founder of the Malawi nation, died on November 25 1997

Photograph: Nation library

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Tracing kamuzu’s footsteps

special essay
PAGE 2 introduced winter and irrigation farming in all the three regions of the country. Promoted the development of the livestock industry in order to utilise animals for cultivation, transportation and as a source of meat and milk. This programme promoted the cross-breeding of local animals with imported varieties. Promoted the use of both organic and inorganic fertilisers, among farmers, with an aim of reducing the expensive usage of organic fertilisers. Was a strong believer of annual crop inspection tours and the holding of annual agricultural shows where farm produce, quality seeds, agricultural tools, livestock and poultry, among others, were brought for competition and comparison as a way of encouraging farmers. Established a system of rewards for recognising farmers who did well in the management of their gardens/ farms. Established Press Farming to grow food and cash crops on a commercial basis and this assisted the quality and quantity of production, thereby moderating the prices of food crops such as maize.

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Dark side of Kamuzu

Among other sad events that dented Kamuzu’s reign are the following: i. Poor handling of the 1964 Cabinet Crisis which led to four ministers being dismissed for proposing limits to the Ngwazi’s powers as president. Development of a cult of personality in his dress and names that were attached to his persona. The forced MCP membership cards which even extended to unborn babies when mothers were expectant. Promotion of MYP as a paramilitary force of MCP . Banishing of teachers from the North from other regions on false allegations. Political murders of Dunduzu Chisiza on September 3 1962 and the three Cabinet ministers Dick Matenje, T waibu Sangala and Aaron Gadama and MP David Chiwanga in 1983. Numerous arrests and detentions without trial of several Malawians. Censorship and banning of publications and tampering with citizens’ rights. Use of the kangaroo traditional courts to settle scores with those that had fallen out with his government.

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Mchikumbe Number One inspecting a tobacco garden

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He established Indebank and its subsidiary Indefund to promote agricultural development, particularly providing capital to farmers and small agro-processing industries to complement Admarc’s role in the sector. The Ngwazi believed the Malawi economy could only grow through self-reliance and hard work of the smallholder farmers through dedicated policies in agriculture and their involvement in quasi-agricultural sectors. In this regard, he promoted the development of cooperative schemes across the country and bulking groups for milk producers. In furtherance of the need to train farmers, he introduced business development units such as Sedom, Demat and Medi aimed at providing training and technical expertise to smallholder farmers. He believed and emphasised to Malawians that the country’s wealth was in the soil. Education As a renowned scholar, Kamuzu believed in education as a tool for development. In this regard, he was quick to expand the education system in all the districts, leading to the opening of the first university in the country in 1965. The base was Chichiri in Blantyre, but later moved to Chirunga in Zomba, now popularly known as Chancellor College. Besides,

he established several tertiary education institutions, dealing with different trades. To further demonstrate his commitment to quality education, he personally founded Kamuzu Academy, a private school modelled on one of the best schools in the UK, Eton. Kamuzu believed in nationalism and promotion of self-help schemes. To this end, he introduced Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) training bases across the country where young Malawians were trained in such skills as bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, home craft and needlework, agriculture and farming. Health His achievements in health are better explained by the numerous health facilities established across the country, notably the referral centres in Blantyre, Zomba and Lilongwe and district hospitals in use today. He will also be remembered for establishing the first medical college in the country, College of Medicine, which is now part of the University of Malawi. Infrastructure development Kamuzu is remembered as a man of class in as far as infrastructural development is concerned. Structures put up during his time stand out in their own right. These include the capital city in Lilongwe; the national road network, notably the Blantyre-Lilongwe Road, the Lakeshore Road and the BlantyreChikhwawa Road; the hotel chain, presently re-named Sunbird Hotels; establishment of companies such as David Whitehead & Sons; Sucoma and Dwangwa sugar factories; Kamuzu International Airport and establishment of imposing buildings such as Sanjika Palace and Chayamba Building

Chancellor College, the fruit of Kamuzu’s leadership
(Blantyre), the new State House in Lilongwe, Kamuzu Academy and Nguluyanawambe in Kasungu. Despite this success story in the early 80s the country suffered economic growth arising from external shocks.In a bid to stimulate domestic production, the Ngwazi embarked on a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in 1981. However, the underlying structural weaknesses of the economy resurfaced again and the Ngwazi proceeded with more reforms which were negatively affected by the landlocked nature and declining agricultural production particularly of maize. Continuing with the Structural Adjustment Reforms commenced by the Ngwazi after 1994, the country witnessed the privatisation of most of the public companies that had been introduced by the late Ngwazi because it was then becoming difficult to manage their economic fortunes without subvention from government. To most Malawians, the SAPs and the failure by the late Ngwazi to bargain for a better diversification deal at a time when the colonial masters including the west and apartheid South Africa needed Malawi as an ally contributed to the removal of crucial economic and general policy parameters, leading to the disempowerment of the people and its leaders today. Dark side While Kamuzu was a visionary leader, it cannot be denied that his legacy was marked by serious shortfalls arising from the totalitarian regime he pursued during his otherwise illustrious leadership of 31 years.

By way of conclusion, it is important to state that the late Ngwazi put Malawi on the path to development and if only successive governments of Bakili Muluzi (1994-2004), Bingu wa Mutharika (2004-2012) and now Dr. Joyce Banda had embarked on incremental development, this country would have made tremendous strides. The country requires developing a national manifesto detailing out aspirations, aims, objectives and benchmarks of the people of Malawi. Malawi does not need manifestos of political parties rather those political parties in campaigning for power must compete in terms of how they will conform to the dictates of the national manifesto. Likewise, Malawi needs leaders that are prepared to sacrifice and indeed serve as servants of the people, the type that will be prepared to take over where the last government had left off, particularly the best practices and tear down the bad ones. This country cannot afford to be starting all over again each time a new government is in place. With all said and done, it is obvious that while Malawians still fondly remember Kamuzu for the good things he did for the country, they will also regret having him as their leader for so long for the wrongs he committed as an individual and as part of the MCP’s one-party rule that the Ngwazi led for 31 years. But all that is now history which must help us move forward to build a better Malawi.

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Tracing kamuzu’s footsteps

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Kamuzu was a typical Chichewa speaker

Kamuzu’s Malawianness
Joshua Chienda Contributor
amuzu Banda hardly spoke any local language in public, prompting some critics to say he was not a Malawian. The first people to make this assertion were the colonialists who wanted to dissuade the Malawian populace from following their newly discovered ‘liberator.’ Some faint-hearted Malawians believed it, particularly after observing that he (Kamuzu) was talking to the Europeans not only ferociously, but also arrogantly and in their own language, which he delivered flawlessly. A similar story appears on the following blog: http:// historyofafricaotherwise. blogspot.com/2011/11/malawiincredible-true-story-of-dr.html. It alleges that the real Kamuzu left Kasungu and travelled to the UK to study medicine. While in the UK, he engaged in activities to oppose colonial rule back home and prepared to return to Nyasaland to lead the conflict against the colonialists. Just before his departure for Nyasaland, he disappeared in mysterious circumstances and an impostor, of Ghanaian

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origin, landed at Chileka in 1958 instead. The proponents of multiparty rule, exasperated by what was perceived as Kamuzu’s eternal grip on power, came up with a slightly different version of the story which stated that the Kamuzu that ruled Malawi was, in fact, an African American called Richard Armstrong, claiming that the real Kamuzu that had left Nyasaland never returned. There are many flaws to these arguments. The first is that Kamuzu, in fact, did speak Chichewa (and with a Kasungu accent). Of course, he rarely spoke it publicly, but from time to time he would correct his interpreter if he used the wrong Chichewa word. Once, John Tembo was at pains to translate the word “uncle” and Kamuzu chipped in to say “alongo wao wa amayi” (pronouncing the” w”s lightly, as true Chichewa speaker would do). And Kamuzu spoke Chitumbuka very well too. Recently, Zodiak radio featured some speeches he made in the 1960s on his way to Mzimba. Stopping at a number of points along the route to address the people in English, he would break into stints of

Tumbuka oratory, mesmerising his audiences. No Ghanaian, no American could have spoken Tumbuka so well unless they had grown up here. Otherwise, they would speak it with what some of us call the “missionary accent”. While it is true that Kamuzu spoke English very well, he had neither an American nor a British accent. And he certainly had no Ghanaian accent either. Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s accent is far more American than Kamuzu’s was, and Mbumba Achuthan’s is more British. Secondly, the Kamuzu we know never severed his links with his roots throughout his sojourns in the white man’s land. In America, he wrote a number of essays about some aspects of his native Chewa tribe, writing for an American folklorist, Stith Thompson. In Scotland, he came face to face with the former missionary who, back in Nyasaland, had expelled him from an examination room because, being a short boy, he could not see the questions clearly on the board and, therefore, stood to have a clearer view , which the invigilator, Cullen Young, interpreted as cheating. Together with Cullen Young,

Kamuzu prefaced and edited a book titled Our African Way of Life while in Scotland. It is the same Kamuzu who hosted a number of Malawians, including Chief Kuntaja and Chief Mwase, at his home in North London in the 1950s. Indeed, it is the same Kamuzu who landed at Chileka Airport to the thunderous welcome of many African Nyasas in 1958. Those who propagate the theory that an impostor came back to Nyasaland in 1958 fail to recognise that of the three territories that had been locked up in a federation, Nyasaland was the least attractive. It was the most impoverished and the most in need of foreign aid. Prior to returning home, Kamuzu was interviewed in Portugal about his intentions to break the federation. One of the questions the reporter asked was: “Dr Banda, how are you going to make it; after all, Nyasaland is a very poor country? Where will you get the money to run the State affairs?” Kamuzu’s answer to this question was non-committal, then came a follow up question: “Dr Banda, are you determined as ever to break away from the federation?” His response to this was more

emphatic: “Need you ask me that question at this stage? Haven’t I said enough and done enough for all to know that I mean just that?” Moreover, the theory that another individual other than the Kamuzu of Kasungu came back to Nyasaland presupposes that the post of “ President of the Republic of Malawi” was already carved out and waiting to be filled by anybody who would answer to the name Kamuzu Banda. It never was that simple. When Kamuzu came back in 1958, he faced possible imprisonment and indeed possible death. There were no assurances whatsoever. In fact, the British would do anything so as not to give independence to Nyasaland on a silver platter. Kamuzu’s role was extremely sacrificial. My take is that it is highly improbable that an outsider would have been prepared to take that risk, least of all for a very unattractive country that Nyasaland was. Of course, Kamuzu was not born a Malawian. He was born a Nyasa. It is he who changed the name of the country to Malawi, thereby making all of us, including himself, Malawians.

Photograph: Nation library

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Tracing kamuzu’s footsteps

Did Malawi really need corner stones?
The first president of the Republic of Malawi late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda and his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) emphasised what was referred to as the four cornerstones of unity, obedience, loyalty and discipline during his rule. Rachel Kachali talks to Potiphar Chidaya, MCP administrative secretary, who explains what the four cornerstones represented and how they contributed to development of Malawi.
Q. Can you first tell us what your position in government was during Dr. Banda’s rule? A. I served a lot of positions. I worked with the government as a civil servant for a long time before I was sent to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) on secondment to work at P8 in 1983. Q. What did ‘unity’ signify as one of the cornerstones? A. The most important cornerstone that Kamuzu encouraged was that of unity. Kamuzu stressed on harmony among all Malawians. He did not tolerate tribalism or regionalism. He wanted all people whether from the North, South or Centre to live together as people of one family. We did not have groupings like the Tumbuka, Lhomwe or Chewa Heritage because Kamuzu thought these would bring divisions among Malawians. Also, there was no sectionalism between the educated and illiterate people that we find rampant today. This is what Kamuzu called unity. Q. What did ‘loyalty’ entail? A. Kamuzu Banda was our leader who, after doing his education overseas, returned to Malawi to free us from the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Chitaganya). He did not entice us with a bag of money (chithumba cha ndalama) like what others could have done. He was even arrested for opposing Chitaganya which was treating people like slaves. Loyalty meant being devoted to him because we knew what he went through in destroying Chitaganya. Even today, leaders are given loyalty. You do things as your leader says and not oppose anything that the leader tells you. When Kamuzu said he did not want people with dreadlocks, everybody listened and obeyed. He was also opposed to foreign dress codes like flared trousers, women trousers and miniskirts because that was not part of our culture. Q. What about ‘obedience’? A. One thing you should know is that the four cornerstones were all related. He made sure that one led to another. Obedience was similar to loyalty in a sense that it emphasised respect and being in agreement with our laws and values. When Kamuzu sent his delegation outside the country to represent Malawi, he expected the officials to respect themselves because by doing that they were respecting him and their country Malawi. When a minister was reportedly drinking, prostituting or doing other malpractices while on duty, s/he was suspended or dismissed right away. Even civil servants were supposed to agree with the laws and be obedient to the president. With democracy we hear of officials getting away with disrespectful behaviour like calling our leaders fools. Q. What was involved in the cornerstone of Discipline? A. As I said these four were related. Our president did not want people who would cause breach of peace and disorder in the

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some parts of Chitipa did not take long to be constructed because of the cornerstones. However, there is still a small part between Karonga and Chitipa which is still not finished today because there is a lot of corruption going on. Q. If Malawi still followed these four cornerstones, would we have the rampant cases of insecurities and lack of respect? A. No. These vices would not be happening. I tell you, we could have been totally secure. Those people, especially the youth, who are engaged in criminal activities today are doing so because they have nothing to do. Not all of us can have a chance of education. Kamuzu established the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) where youths like these could go to train in different skills including modern farming, carpentry and others. Do you think one can still go on stealing when he/she has the good means to earn a living in an environment as stable as Malawi was? Q. Some say Kamuzu was responsible for the atrocities that other Malawians faced like the killing of three ministers and an MP in Mwanza and the sending of teachers to teach in their own regions as punishments. What can you say about that? A. This is what some people say indeed. But most of these things have no proofs. Kamuzu was also not aware of these incidents like the sending of Tumbuka teachers to their own region. Actually, that is tribalism which he hated most. Q. Any comment, advice or call? A. It is my plea and wish for a time like that of Kamuzu Banda, where there were no divisions among people and no insecurities, to come again. The time to share even a little cake we may have to those who have none.

Chidaya: Kamuzu encouraged unity
society. What he wanted was for people to do things in a strategic plan, i.e. at the scheduled place, in the right manner and at the right time. There was discipline which started even with the party members. Even students were following procedures if they wanted to report on issues like poor food or stationery allowances starting with their prefects, then head teachers. They could not just start breaking windows and chairs because they had discipline. Q. How did these four cornerstones contribute to the development of Malawi? A. The four cornerstones instilled love, patriotism and sense of ownership among the people. Unity made Malawians work together to develop their areas. For instance, if there was a construction like that of school blocks, people would work together in moulding bricks and gathering sand, thus, making it easier for government to provide experts to construct the blocks. Development activities were easily done because Malawians were loyal, disciplined and worked together without problems. Loyalty, obedience and discipline prevented corruption and other injustices like crime. I assure you there were no cases of officials stealing medicine from hospitals. The main road from Nsanje to

Christopher Jimu Staff Reporter
Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda was a disciplinarian who never brooked any nonsense. Even his close relations attest to this. Ken Kandondo, his nephew, says Kamuzu ensured that all his relations are well catered for so they concentrate on their businesses and worked hard in class. To ensure this, he built Chiwengo Village in Kasungu with decent houses and roads for his family members. Kandodo, who is also Defence Minister, said this unified the family because nobody felt loved more than the other by the Ngwazi. “Fifteen years after the demise of our pillar we have managed to

What Kamuzu’s family says about the Ngwazi
member of the Kamuzu family was allowed to come close to MCP or government business because he never wanted us to be on the spotlight. “In fact, he stopped Kamuzu Nkhata from becoming a councillor because to him it was better for us to concentrate on farming than to join politics. “When the list of councillors to participate in an election was presented to Kamuzu, he struck out his nephew’s name and told him to keep out of politics. “We are glad that he taught us how to fish instead of giving us fish, hence we have managed to continue with our lifestyles with less difficulties,” says Kandodo. He also paid tribute to all elders in the Kamuzu family who worked together and ensured that there were no squabbles. “Since Kamuzu died, our elders have always been there to guide us when things are going wrong and their advice has always been invaluable,” he said. He said as a family, they are glad that 15 years after Kamuzu’s death, the nation still has fond memories of the father and founder of the Malawi nation because of strong foundations he laid in agriculture, health, education and other sectors of life.

pull through although sometimes we face some challenges. But this is part of life. “Since Kamuzu died, all post MCP governments of UDF, DPP and now the PP have been able to support us as a family,” he said. Kandodo said Kamuzu jealously guarded his family members and never wanted them to be part of MCP or join politics. At one point, he even stopped his great grandnephew Kamuzu Nkhata from contesting as a councillor in Kasungu. “Kamuzu had his own style of leadership. What struck me most was that he never allowed us to be in the spotlight. No

Photograph: samuel chibaya

Kandodo: Kamuzu was our pillar

Photograph: Nation library

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OPPORTUNITY TO EXPEDITE PUTTING IN PLACE A HEROES POLICY
The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (CEDEP) join Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda in commemorating Kamuzu Day on 14 May 2013. As defenders of human rights, rule of law and good governance, we at CHRR and CEDEP believe that this auspicious day accords all citizenry across political, social, religious or regional divide a rare opportunity to celebrate the life of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda who, apart from successfully resisting the colonial rule, laid the foundations of our independent Malawi and also helped the country register some considerable strides in development particularly in the area of agriculture and economic stability. In the same breath, we at CHRR and CEDEP also recognise that at the heart of Banda’s 30 year rule are serious forms of human rights abuses and violations especially inflicted on the critics of the regime. Such a dark side of Banda’s rule should hence serve as lessons to all of us especially those in the ruling on the need to embrace democratic values, rule of law and good governance in order to avoid a repeat of the evils that marred Kamuzu’s era. We at CHRR and CEDEP would also like to take this opportunity to call upon the Malawi government through the relevant ministry to expedite the process of putting in place a Hero’s Policy to guide the country on whom to accord the Hero or Heroine accolade. We observe that as it stands now, Malawi does not have a clear blueprint that guides our decision on who to call a Hero or a villain. The case of Dr Hasting Kamuzu Banda, provides for a very rich case study on whether he qualifies the special recognition or not. While some regard him as a heroe based on the above mentioned positive accomplishments, still others view him as the worst dictator to have so far graced Malawi’s political history based on the grave human rights violations that characterised his reign. This ambiguity in the legacy of Dr Kamuzu Banda makes it very difficult to have a clear cut answer on whether he deserves to be called a hero or not . We at CHRR and CEDEP strongly believe that the absence of the Heroes Policy has short-changed so many a great son and daughter of our land. We have failed to recognise their great deeds to this country just because we do not have a guide to identify and recognise them. ONCE AGAIN We at CHRR therefore take the Kamuzu Day commemoration to once again call upon government to strongly consider expediting the process on putting in place a hero’s policy. signed Undule Mwakasungula Executive Director (CHRR) undulem@chrrmw.org Gift Trapence Executive Director (CEDEP) directorcedep@yahoo.com

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Tracing kamuzu’s footsteps
RACHEL KACHALI Staff Reporter
“They say my people love me and I would be naive to deny it,” said late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the First President of the Republic of Malawi, as quoted in David Lamb’s book, The Africans, published in 1985 in New York, USA. It is now nineteen years since Banda last ruled Malawi. Just as any other period of leadership in the country, many things happened during Banda’s rule. Some were important and respectable while others were not. While some call Kamuzu a hero, others vilify him for various reasons. He is known for his fight against the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland popularly known as Chitaganya which led to his arrest together with other MCP officials like Gwanda Chakuamba and Aleke Banda in 1959. “I loved Kamuzu. He destroyed Chitaganya and freed the country from atsamunda [colonial rulers]. He promoted agriculture by providing fertilisers to all farmers

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Was Kamuzu responsible for all violence, killings?
hands in pockets …,” reads part of Banda’s speech. Another citizen to express his love and loyalty towards Kamuzu is a 55 year-old Dave Mashalubu from Machinga who plies his business in Lilongwe’s Tsoka Flea Market. “I adored that leader. I used to live a better life in those days. There were no insecurities and high crime rates as we see these days. Criminals were not getting away with the security that was there,” explains Mashalubu. “I was one of the people who was illiterate, but got recruited to the MYP training base at Amarika in Thyolo District where I was equipped with farming skills. After six years of learning, I started my own farming enterprise, which collapsed after Kamuzu’s rule because many people lost interest in agriculture,” he clarifies. We can go on and on to quote people who admired Kamuzu whom they called ‘Great leader’ ngwazi, nkhoswe, lion, mpulumutsi, wamuyaya. However, despite all these good things, wicked things happened during his rule and it was on this premise that he was termed a villain who ruled with an iron fist. Reports have indicated that the MYP , despite contributing to development, was viewed as the elite wing of the MCP Youth League, which became popular for assaulting and tormenting people opposing Kamuzu’s rule. Emeritus history professor, Kings Phiri, in his article A Case of Revolutionary Change in Contemporary Malawi wrote that dictatorship was obvious in Malawi after the 1964 Cabinet Crisis where Banda dismissed some of his Cabinet ministers for opposing his views. Phiri said the young pioneers served as Kamuzu’s private army to harass and persecute those who could not conform to the dictatorship. It has been alleged that those

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in the country through clubs,” explains a grey- haired group village headman (GVH) Msewa of Traditional Authority Malili in Lilongwe. Kamuzu is also known for his exceptional infrastructures such as the Chancellor College in Zomba and Kamuzu Academy in Kasungu, as well as the architectural masterpiece buildings in the capital city including Government Offices at Capital Hill. Some also praise him for establishing Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) in 1963, which trained youths with farming and vocational skills such as carpentry, bricklaying and others. Speaking in Lilongwe in 1975, Banda emphasised the development role of the MYP . “I organised the young pioneers so that the youth would make useful citizens of the country. I did not want our youth to roam the streets of Zomba, Blantyre and Lilongwe, loafing with their

who opposed Banda were arrested, tortured, sent into exile, and sometimes maimed or killed. For instance, some people fled the country and sought refuge in far away countries. Whenever he was passing by, people, especially students were forced to line along the roads. People were also forced to buy party membership cards, pay Chamwaka (a tax) and contribute livestock such as chickens, goats and cattle to the president as personal gifts. Others were allegedly fed to crocodiles and faced harsh treatments in notorious prisons like Mikuyu, Nsanje and Dzaleka. It is assumed that other offenders were handled by a notorious secret service called Special Branch Police. A member of Jehovah’s Witness (name withheld) PAGE 11

Dealing with unemployment the Kamuzu way
Christopher Jimu Staff Reporter
nemployment is widespread today and no one seems to have a clue on how the problem could be tackled. But Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the first president of Malawi, had his own ways of engaging the youth in meaningful and productive activities. The Ngwazi, as he was fondly called, formed the Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) soon after the country gained independence as one way of empowering the youth. In MYP bases, young people learnt skills such as bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, motor vehicle mechanics, farming and driving. Of course, others underwent military drills. It is this aspect of MYP that was unpopular among most Malawians, saying it was a political tool meant to suppress dissenting views. Kamuzu established MYP training bases in different parts of the country. Some of them were Byanzi in Dowa, Khola in Kasungu, Ntonda and Mwalawoyera in Ntcheu, Chipoka in Salima, Dwambazi in Nkhotakota, Nasawa in Chiradzulu, Lipinda in Mangochi, Kamwanjiwa in Mzimba and Mountain View in Thyolo, just to mention a few. Some ex-MYP members argue that Malawi is losing a lot by not reviving the bases because most young people who do not have an opportunity

U

Kamuzu admires handicrafts by members of MYP
to go to the University of Malawi (Unima) would have gone to these places to learn some vocational skills. They say this would have reduced unemployment levels in the country. Phillip Mazenga, an ex-MYP member from Kasungu, argues: “I was trained at Khola Farm in Kasungu between 1989 and 1992 and the experience I gained is invaluable. I learnt some farming technologies, carpentry and joinery, plumbing as well as brick laying. “I even went to Taiwan to learn martial arts for selfdefence. I thanked the Malawi Congress Party government because though I was a Standard 8 dropout, they had something meaningful for me to do.” He says Malawi is in economic challenges because most youth are trained to do a white collar job. “Since Malawi attained multiparty in 1992, most young people do not even know how to make a ridge hence, Malawi’s under productivity. “This is sad. How can we develop the country when our children do not even know how to farm?” wonders Mazenga. Baziwele Mdindo, one of village heads in Lilongwe Mpenu, agrees with Mazenga that Malawi is in economic problems because no one wants to revive MYP bases. “I was trained at Byanzi MYP Training Base in Dowa and we used to produce first grade crops. “We used to feed prisons, hospitals and even colleges because we produced a lot of vegetables, maize, eggs as well as meat products,” says Mdindo. He says he joined MYP after seeing how well the institution graduates were doing. Apart from farming, Mdindo

also acquired some skills in carpentry, building as well welding. He says with the experience he gained from MYP, he got a job in government as a prison warder. “When I retired, I was a staff sergeant. Up to now, I am still receiving my pension from government,” he says. He argues that there was need for government to revive MYP bases and only remove undesirable elements. Another ex-MYP member, Joabu Tchale, says MYP was good as it used to instil hard-working spirit in young people. “We could supply food from our farms to secondary schools, hospitals, prisons and colleges. During our time, there were no incidences of hospitals running out of food because we were able to produce enough,” he says. People’s Party (PP) national deputy director of political affairs, Levi Luwemba, also argues that MYP was the strongest institution Kamuzu set to empower the youth to be self-reliant and disciplined. “Everybody who trained at MYP was a productive citizen because they were taught farming and other skills such as bricklaying, carpentry and welding,” he says. Luwemba hints that if MYP were to be revived, it could create employment in the country. All said and done, despite a paramilitary wing which most Malawians dreaded, MYP was instrumental in the development of the country.

Photograph: Nation library

Special pullout to the nation 14 may 2013

11
Tracing kamuzu’s footsteps

features
PAGE 12 The Kamuzu Academy was founded; a college based on Eton, at which British teachers inculcated Latin and Greek into favoured African children. Kamuzu as an economist Unarguably, economists have failed to align Kamuzu’s economic policies to a particular block of economic thought. During the ideological economic war between Communism and Capitalism, known to history as the Cold War, Kamuzu went public in defence of the Capitalist west. He avoided grand socialist plans which lured other African countries to destruction. But this did not make him a complete capitalist either. He intruded into the market, determined prices of tobacco and many other goods. Private sector growth, which is the helm of capitalism, was vibrant. It was the State which was at the helm of business in the country. What with almost all major companies being run by the nation? Hence, Kamuzu’s economics was careful blend of those capitalist and socialist ideals which he managed to resonate with the Malawian situation. Kamuzu as Mchikumbe Number One Kamuzu saw Malawi from an agricultural perspective. At the expense of all other sectors— for instance, mining and manufacturing—agriculture, as a result, remained his priority, the hallmark he saw that could propel Malawi to stardom. Through smallholder and estate agriculture, Kamuzu brought the entire nation into a philosophy of chuma chili m’nthaka and, every growing season, he could make field visits to appreciate the produce. Such a legacy infiltrated well in the psyche of Malawians to the extent that till to date, agriculture, defined in mass production of maize and tobacco, still remains a major policy issue. The challenge, however— which is Kamuzu’s legacy—is that for years agriculture is

Kamuzu: Nkhoswe Number One
failing to take Malawi off to industrialisation stardom. Smallholder farmers continue to use hoes and cultivate on small pieces of depleted land which is owned communally. On the other hand, commercial agriculture, through estates, continues to dwindle, as postcolonial governments invest heavily in smallholder farmers. Kamuzu as a church elder Despite a history of leadership defined by the worst atrocities, Kamuzu was a religious man as well. A Presbyterian by faith, well educated by Scottish schools, Kamuzu’s longer years abroad didn’t steal the religion in him. When he came back he could lead the nation in prayers and interestingly, he was fond of Chitumbuka hymns which he continuously said was taught to him by his grandfather. His intrinsic religion also defined his attitude to public morality. Early in his rule, he instituted a dress code which was rooted in his socially conservative predilections. For example, women were not allowed to bare their thighs or to wear trousers. Banda argued that the dress code was not instilled to oppress women but to encourage honour and respect for them. For men, long hair and beards were banned as a sign of dissent. Men could be arrested and forced to have a haircut at the discretion of border officials or police. Kissing in public was not allowed, nor were movies that contained such scenes. Kamuzu as a medical doctor Folktale has it that he walked to South Africa as a young man. This, however, is difficult to prove. However, between the lines of folktale is a story of boy who was, unarguably, born from a poor family yet eager to travel distances and make an impact. And that was Kamuzu. While working in the mines in South Africa, he eagerly educated himself and, through church connections, obtained

Kamuzu dancing with his Mbumba
an education in America. He qualified with high grades as a doctor and won a place to study medicine at Edinburgh University in Scotland. He arrived in 1937 and was to make Britain his home for the next 20 years, establishing his medical practice in poor areas of wartime and post-war Britain. Attracted by his ability as a doctor, his courtesy and his puritan simplicity, rich and poor flocked to his surgery—some achievement for a black man in Britain at that time. He was, teetotaler, celibate and dressed like an undertaker. To the elders of the Church of Scotland he was a living tribute to Christian missionary endeavour in Africa, and they made him an elder too. But after years of serving in the UK, Kamuzu, history has it, wanted to come and serve in his country. Historian Desmond Dudwa Phiri writes that the colonial government in Malawi frustrated his proposal because white nurses refused to work under a black medical doctor. He went to practice in Ghana, as a result. Kamuzu as Nkhoswe Number One At a period when gender equality issues weren’t prevalent as they are today, Kamuzu was very supportive of women's rights compared to most African rulers then. He founded Chitukuko Cha Amai m'Malawi (CCAM) to address the concerns, needs, rights and opportunities for women in Malawi. This institution motivated women to excel in education and government as well as encouraged them to play more active roles in their community, church and family. The foundation's national advisor was Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, the official hostess. Legacy of a multiple faced leader Mark Antony spoke wisdom in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caeser when he said the ‘evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred into their bones’. Should this be with Kamuzu? There is other wisdom, as well, one rooted in African thought. Africa’s wiser ones meant it all when they said ‘the virtues of the dead grow taller than their sins once buried’. Should this, again, be with Kamuzu? Whatever his story, Kamuzu has a place in the heart of Malawi, a story that is invoked every time it’s May 14. May his soul continue to rest in peace.

Who is to blame for MCP’s atrocities?
PAGE 10 admitted to have stayed in exile for ten years after Kamuzu allegedly banned the church from operating in Malawi and ordered assaults of the followers. One other popular event was the deaths ‘by car accident’ of three Cabinet ministers, Dick Matenje, Twaibu Sangala and Aaron Gadama, and David Chiwanga an MP at Thambani Forest in Mwanza District. Truth of the matter is still hazy up to now. “There are no proofs on these things. If they were happening then it was not from Kamuzu’s order. He was not aware of these incidents,” says MCP administrative secretary Potiphar Chidaya, who is one of the MCP long-serving members. He, however, cherishes that MYP assisted the police and army in dealing with criminals. The pioneers, however, carried out atrocities. “MYP helped to maintain law, order and peace in the country. I cannot deny that there were some pioneers who took the law in their own hands by assaulting the criminals. Still it was not the President’s order to assault the offenders,” says Chidaya. Then can we conclude that Kamuzu was not responsible for these atrocities because he was not aware of their happening? University of Malawi political scientist, Blessings Chinsinga, believes Kamuzu was responsible since he was the president of the country. “We may not say he was directly responsible for the killings. But since he was a leader and in control

of Malawi’s administration, he was to blame. Thus he sanctioned those incidents just as leaders give authorities,” explains Chinsinga. Some political experts share the view that Kamuzu was responsible because as president, he was responsible for the welfare of his people and incidents as those could not have happened behind his back. Was Kamuzu a hero or villain?

Photograph: Nation library

12
Tracing kamuzu’s footsteps
EPHRAIM NYONDO News Analyst
It is 14 May again. That moment is here when the nation invokes the memories of a leader well fallen 16 years ago and carefully honoured and treasured in a tomb worth $600 000 in the heart of the capital, Lilongwe. Great and honoured in his fighting times, revered and reviled in the three decades he ruled, and fallen graciously in his end, he was one of Malawi’s rare son, the nation’s fighting and liberating spirit only fallen down in the memories of posterity as ‘that dictator’. Yes, he looked like an eccentric version of the typical African dictator: He proclaimed himself president for life, locked up his opponents, lived royally in a poor country, carried a fly whisk and went to church. But Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who ruled Malawi for its first three decades, was no cardboard cutout African ruler. He had another life, some would say another persona. His multiple strands never reconciled, eventually, making him one of the most enigmatic characters of 20th-century Africa. His contradictory political beliefs, his love for agriculture, his economic beliefs, his religiousness, his profession and his respect for women bequeaths to posterity a leader who is remembered in a raging storm of mixed feelings. And he is. Kamuzu as a politician The political rise of Kamuzu—a medical doctor with no experience in leading a large-scale political organisation— was, unarguably, a show of fate. By 1956, writes Kanyama Chiume in his 1992 autobiography, the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) was almost ready for independence. “It had a nationwide support, vibrant leadership and was well connected in all political spheres of the central colonial government,” he wrote. Yet trouble brewed within the party—the struggle of generations. The older ones felt that the younger and radical ones, for instance, Henry Chipembere and Kanyama

Special pullout to the nation 14 may 2013

features

Kamuzu inspecting a guard of honour mounted by the Malawi Young Pioneers?

Memories of a leader with different faces
Chiume, were too inexperienced to lead the party to independence. A gap of leadership to bridge generations emerged. “That was when the name of Kamuzu Banda came in,” recalls Willie Chokani, Malawi’s first Labour minister. When he was called and arrived in the country in 1958, recalls Rose Mlanga, one of the first women ministers, the country was on fire. “The whites knew that a man has come. He was like a messiah come down from heaven to take away the colonial burden,” she says. From the 1959 mass killing and arrests to the 1961 general election which saw Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the latter day NAC, getting a landslide win, Kamuzu emerged the hero of the people. Perhaps because people saw him as the messiah, Kamuzu exploited the image and treated those post-colonial history. “It told Kamuzu that he was not safe. As a result, he began making moves of wielding much power to himself and again, of surrounding himself with people he has trust in only,” he says. In 1966, Parliament banned all other parties and in 1971, Kamuzu was made life president. However, though mostly remembered as a ‘dictator’, Kamuzu’s political leadership was again defined by ambiguity. Turning his back on former allies in the struggle for independence, Dr Banda gave diplomatic support to South Africa's white rulers, who built him a palace and a new capital in return. In Malawi, his attitude to Africans was colonial. He saw them as poor benighted people who needed his guidance and a British education. PAGE 11

Kamuzu with former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda
behind him as ‘my boys’. “He could constantly refer to all of us as ‘his boys’. A number of us, Cabinet ministers, felt bad about it,” says Chokani. Chokani, Chiume, Chipembere and others, just few months after getting independence in 1964, rebelled against Kamuzu in what is referred to as the Cabinet Crisis. The rebellion, argues Kings Phiri, emeritus professor of history at Chancellor College, was a turning point in Malawi’s

Photograph: Nation library

Photograph: Nation library

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