Nkhoma Synod of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have hailed the country’s founding president Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s contribution and branded his critics as failures.
In his address during Kamuzu Day memorial service at Kasungu CCAP organised by Kamuzu’s family, Nkhoma Synod moderator the Reverend Biswick Nkhoma said Kamuzu, who led the country from independence in 1964 to 1994 under a one-party State, was the only visionary leader Malawi has ever had.
He said: “The moment Kamuzu came home, he spelt his vision that he wanted to break the ‘stupid federation’, give Malawians food and clothes and good houses which he did.”
Nkhoma also said Kamuzu laid a solid foundation for the country’s development.
In his homily, the Reverend David Chifungo, former general secretary of the synod, highlighted the need for leaders with integrity if Malawi is to move forward.
“What we need are leaders with the spirit of service and not full of greed. We have not seen such a leader since multiparty and that is why we will keep repeating the same developments again and again,” he said.
Chifungo based his sermon on the Holy Bible books of Phillipians and Isaiah where both authors spoke of a suffering servant. He urged Malawi’s aspiring leaders to reflect on the readings.
In his address during the service, MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, the party’s fifth president after Orton Chirwa, Kamuzu Banda, Gwanda Chakuamba and John Tembo, said it is unfortunate that some people have the courage to say Kamuzu did nothing for Malawi.
He said: “If you think so [that Kamuzu did nothing], then you are telling us that you are blind that you can’t notice good things.”
Speaking on behalf of Kamuzu’s family, Kamuzu’s grand-nephew Ken Kandodo said the family is disappointed with the people who fault the country’s founding president as a bad leader.
He said: “When Kamuzu came into this country [in 1958], he found it in a shambles, but he worked hard to shape it to where other leaders found it [in 1994]. We all owe him respect instead of ridicule.”
Besides the Nkhoma Synod clergy, Kamuzu’s family and MCP representatives, high-profile individuals who attended the event included the country’s former vice-president and now Freedom Party president Khumbo Kachali, Edyth Mtunga who represented People’s Party as well as the late Kamuzu’s lifetime confidante Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, who worked as the official government hostess during the one-party era.
Conspicuously missing were government officials.
Kamuzu was succeeded by Bakili Muluzi of United Democratic Front (UDF) in the country’s first post-independence multi-party elections in 1994.
He died in November 1997.