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Commemorating 50 years of Independence:
Transforming our country with a shared
vision, renewed commitment to hard work
and integrity for sustainable development.
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JULY, 2014
Excellencies Heads of State and
The Vice President of the Republic of
Malawi, Right Honourable Saulos
Speaker of the National Assembly,
Right Honourable Richard Msowoya,
Your Ladyship, the Chief Justice
Honourable Anastasia Msosa;
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Honourable Cabinet Ministers and
Deputy Ministers present here;
The Commander of the Malawi
Defence Force, General Ignasio
The Inspector General of Police, Mr.
Loti Dzonzi;
Justices of the High Court and the
Supreme Court of Appeal;
Your Excellences, former Presidents
of the Republic of Malawi;
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The Leader of Opposition,
Honourable Dr. Lazarus Chakwera;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Leaders of Political Parties
Represented in Parliament;
Your Excellency, Madam Thandiwe
Dumbutchena, Dean Of the
Diplomatic Corps and Heads Of
Diplomatic Missions;
Acting Chief Secretary to the
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The Chief Executive of Lilongwe City

Distinguished Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
My fellow Malawians, today is a very
important day in the history of our
country as we commemorate 50 years of
independence under the theme:
"Transforming our nation with a
shared vision and renewed
commitment to hard work and
integrity for sustainable development."
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On 6
July, 1964 Malawi got its
independence from Britain, signaling a
new era for Malawi. This is an important
day for all Malawians because we are
celebrating that we have not only attained
50 years of independence but also 50
years of peace, stability, progress and
prosperity. It is a day when, as a nation,
we are refecting on how we have
performed over the past 50 years and how
we would like to move forward together in
the next 50 years and beyond.
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Let us all celebrate this day because we
have every reason to do so. We have to
celebrate because of the remarkable
progress we have achieved over the years.
Indeed we need to celebrate because,
among other things, 50 years ago, we did
not have some of the hospitals we have
today; 50 years ago we did not have some
of the roads we have today; 50 years ago,
we did not have a single public university,
let alone private ones; and most
importantly, 50 years ago we did not have
the democracy we have today. Standards
of living have increased remarkably, and
there has also been a notable drop in
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inequality. In terms of human
development, using Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) indicators, the
country ranks among the top 20
performers, in relation to both absolute
and relative progress. This is something
worth celebrating.
Since Malawi became an independent
state, the country has continued to be an
island of peace and calm, law and order
which have been essential for the
countrys growth. The frst President of
Malawi, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda,
appealed to Malawians for hard work,
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peace and unity. We heeded his call and
the country registered growth in various
sectors of development. The country has
also continued to be an island of peace in
Of course, my fellow Malawians, we owe
the development we have registered over
the years not only to ourselves, but also to
our development partners. I, therefore, on
behalf of all Malawians, thank all
development partners who have helped us
ever since we became independent and
continue to help us, in the development of
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our country. I want them to know that
Malawi is highly indebted to them.
Despite the many achievements we have
registered, we are faced with as many
challenges as one can imagine. Our
country is still one of the least developed
countries in the world. Our health and
education systems are on the verge of
collapse, HIV/AIDS continues to threaten
our nations development. Our economy is
in a sorry state and, in general,
Malawians are on average poorer than
they were in 1964. We must, therefore,
ask ourselves what has gone wrong?
What is it that we were supposed to do
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that we did not do properly or not done
that resulted in our country sliding
backwards? One of our challenges has
been the disconnect between policy and
practice. We have had good policy
documents gathering dust on shelves.
This must stop. In fact, most of the
policies were transitory and often brought
short-term successes that could not bring
about sustained growth and poverty
Fellow Malawians, we must take collective
responsibility for our failures and
shortfalls as a nation. However, these
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weaknesses should not make us despair
because the future is not bleak. All we
need to do is learn from our past mistakes
and resolve to do better as we strive to
take our country to greater heights. As I
said in my inaugural speech last month,
today, we begin another leg of 50 years.
My fellow Malawians, the next 50 years of
our journey presents us with an
opportunity to reset our priorities, rethink
our strategic focus, redefne Malawi, and
make it very progressive.
My fellow Malawians, we need to
transform our country from being a
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predominantly importing and consuming
country to a predominantly producing
and exporting country; we must create
sufcient substantive jobs and new
wealth for our people; our country must
be food self-sufcient; our country must
transform the agricultural primary
commodities, other raw materials and
minerals into value. At 50 today, we must
strive for economic and development
My fellow Malawians, the independence,
freedom, peace and stability we are
enjoying and celebrating today did not
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come on a silver platter. Some of our
compatriots sacrifced their lives for it. It
is that spirit of dedicated service and
sincere sacrifce that we celebrate here, a
spirit that likewise burned within our
forefathers as they fought for our freedom
50 years ago.
Lest we forget: Malawi, Nyasaland then,
was a British colony. In 1953, the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland
was formed despite African opposition.
This meant that the British Government
had virtually transferred its protectorate
responsibility over Nyasaland to white
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settlers of Southern Rhodesia (now
Zimbabwe). However, African resistance to
the federation, spearheaded by the then
Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia (now
Zambia) forced the British Government to
shelve the idea of federation. Eventually,
Malawi received self-Governance in 1963
with Kamuzu Banda, who, in 1958
returned home from Ghana to lead in the
struggle against colonialism, as Prime
Minister, and on 6 July, 1964 Malawi
became an independent state with Dr.
Kamuzu Banda, as its frst President. In
1966 Malawi became a Republic. My
fellow Malawians, whether one likes or
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not, Kamuzu Banda was a visionary
leader who laid a solid foundation for the
countrys social and economic
development despite ruling with an iron

In 1992 Malawians expressed
dissatisfaction with the increasingly
autocratic rule of the Malawi Congress
Party under President Dr. Hastings
Kamuzu Banda and in March 1992, the
Catholic Bishops wrote a pastoral letter
denouncing Kamuzus disregard for
human rights. This led to struggle for
political pluralism led by some key
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fgures, including the late Chakufwa
Chihana, who was jailed for speaking
openly against Dr. Hastings Kamuzu
Banda. Pressure for multiparty democracy
mounted and Kamuzu consequently
called for a referendum in June 1993,
during which Malawians voted in favour of
multiparty democracy. And on 17 May
1994, Malawians went to the polls to vote
in the frst ever multi party Parliamentary
and Presidential Elections and His
Excellency, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, was elected
president of the frst multi-party
government after 30 years of attaining our
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My fellow Malawians, the struggle did not
end with the May 1994 elections.
Malawians have been trying to perfect
their independence through democratic
elections that saw the country being led
by Their Excellencies Dr. Bakili Muluzi
from 1994 to 2004; Prof. Bingu Wa
Mutharika from 2004 to 2012 (May His
Soul Rest in Eternal Peace), Dr. Joyce
Banda through the constitution from
2012 to 2014; and now you have me.
My fellow Malawians, from the history of
the struggle for independence, then the
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introduction and experience of multiparty
democracy; I want us now to draw a
number of lessons, things which are
necessary ingredients for the further
social, economic and political development
of our country:
First is patriotism. This is the love for
ones country to the extent that one is
prepared to serve his/her country with
complete devotion, diligence and complete
sacrifce of personal comfort. From the
struggle for independence through to the
1993 referendum it is evident that many
people sacrifced their lives for the love of
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the country. We should have that same
spirit of love for our country. We should
learn to put our country frst, and nothing
else, for the country to forge ahead into
greater prosperity.
My fellow Malawians, discipline is
another virtue we should learn from our
freedom fghters. This is the ability in a
person to do the right thing, at the right
place, at the right time and in the right
manner. Discipline was high during the
pre-multi party democracy era. However,
once Malawi attained the multi party
democracy, everyone thought they had the
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right to do things in the manner they
pleased; as a result chaos and anarchy
became the order of the day in the frst
years of democratic Malawi. The culture of
not respecting the rule of law has become
the order of the day. We have become a
nation where even simple trafc rules are
being ignored, people are able to embezzle
government resources including
medicines in hospitals with little or
virtually no regard to life. Therefore, as we
embark on a journey of another 50 years
or more, I wish to appeal for discipline
because it is essential for the nation to
achieve remarkable prosperity. We need
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discipline at every level of our society. The
transformation journey is for all
Malawians to embark on and the time is
My fellow Malawians, there is an old
adage which says, united we stand,
divided we fall. As individuals we cannot
be strong and manage the difcult task
that lies ahead of our country. Therefore,
unity is a very important aspect that has
seen this country move to what it is today.
The freedom fghters managed to win
independence for this country because
they were united in the struggle against
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British rule. Unity of purpose is what we
have learnt from the leaders who have
ruled this country since independence.
Unity of purpose is undoubtedly a critical
ingredient for the development of our
Fellow Malawians, we need to embark on
a journey of transforming our country to
greater prosperity in the next 50 years
with absolute honesty and integrity. We
should always place honesty and integrity
before anything else. While we
commemorate 50 years of independence
we must learn to be decent,
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straightforward and sincere in whatever
we say and in what we do.
Fellow Malawians, Courage is another
important character we must learn today.
As the freedom fghters played their part
to win us independence from colonial
bondage, we should play our part without
any hesitation, whatsoever, even when
undertaking our daily chores.
My fellow Malawians, a true Malawian
should be able to ofer self-sacrifce. The
privileged must be able to ofer themselves
to undertake some selfess assignments
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on behalf of the less fortunate so that we
move forward together as a united nation.
That is what serving the country and our
local communities is all about. Dr.
Hastings Kamuzu Banda, for instance,
had to abandon his job as a medical
doctor in Ghana to fght for the liberation
of his country. We must all have the same
spirit as we strive to take this country to
greater prosperity. I therefore call on all
those professionals in and outside Malawi
to put the countrys interest frst. Come
back home and contribute to the
development of mother Malawi.
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Another character worth emulating from
the history of Malawi and as we commit
ourselves to transforming Malawi to
sustainable development, is hard work.
Hard work is the key to the development
of the country. I would, therefore, like to
encourage every Malawian to be hard
working if we are to truly transform our
country from poverty to prosperity.
Democracy does not mean that everything
that we want will fall on our heads like
Manna from heaven. Development will
come through hard work and involvement
of everyone. Malawi is slowly becoming a
country of high dependency. We need to
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abandon the culture of expecting
Government to do everything for us.
President Kennedy once said think not
for what your country can do for you but
what you can do for your country". Indeed
think nothing for me without me.
My fellow Malawians, as we commemorate
50 years of independence, we must frst of
all remember we are sons and daughters
of Malawi. We must remember that
Malawi is our motherland. We need to put
the destiny of this country into our own
hands. As I said during my State of the
Nation Address, these celebrations have
set our development agenda for the next
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ffty years and beyond. We need, as a
nation, to realize that this is a beftting
moment for us to look back and refect on
our successes and challenges so that we
can reposition ourselves for a great future.
I have no doubt that we will seize this
moment to reassert ourselves and act
with greater determination and vigour to
achieve fundamental transformation of
our country.
Fellow Malawians, it is sad to note that
after 50 years of independence, a large
proportion of our people still live in abject
poverty. It is sad to note that the majority
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of our youth remain jobless and many of
our people do not know where their next
meal will come from; and our
infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.
Our country will realize meaningful and
sustainable development if, and only if, we
rededicate ourselves to hard work, peace
and unity.
It is the mission of the DPP-led
government that we facilitate the instilling
of self-confdence and sense of socio-
economic independence of Malawians, by
creating a conducive environment for hard
work, creating more sustainable jobs,
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redistributing incomes and increasing the
supply of quality goods and services for
the domestic and international markets. If
we do this, we will defnitely take our
country on a right track to greater
My fellow Malawians, I will be failing in
my duty as sitting Head of State and
Government if I do not acknowledge the
great contributions that my predecessors
Excellencies late Ngwazi Dr. Hastings
Kamuzu Banda, Dr. Bakili Muluzi, late
Ngwazi Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika, and
Dr. Joyce Banda. These led our nation
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through diferent trying times. Today I call
on you all to stand by me and support the
DPP-led government as we take the nation
on a new development path that will leave
a mark for the next half century and
In conclusion, my fellow Malawians, let
me once again confrm my governments
commitment to work with, and for, all
people of Malawi regardless of their
geographical regions, origin, race, creed or
colour so as to develop one nation. We will
work together for the common good of all
our people. Let me also guarantee you
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that my government will work towards
protecting the rights of our people by
combating corruption and upholding the
rule of law in every aspect of governance.
This, I believe, is the greatest tribute we
can give to the many who have fought for
our freedom, ensuring that the Malawi
people will have to rise from poverty,
injustice and oppression. While we know
that much remains to be done, I believe
our vision is within reach. Just as we have
shown in the past that meaningful change
can be achieved, that trust in government
can be restored and that by treading the
straight path to progress together we can
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overturn decades of neglect and mis-
governance, I know that working together
we can collectively achieve our shared
inspirations for our nation.
I thank you for your attention and wish
you happy 50
Independence Anniversary
May the almighty God bless our Nation.
I thank you.
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