Vice President Saulos Chilima has praised former Malawi leader Kamuzu Banda – who ruled Malawi for 31 years – for allowing Malawians to vote for multiparty democracy in the 1993 referendum.
Chilima made the remarks today at a commemoration ceremony for Kamuzu Day, which is celebrated every year on May 14. The event was held at Kamuzu Mausoleum in Lilongwe.
Chilima described Kamuzu as a champion of democracy for allowing the referendum and later conceding defeat in the 1994 presidential elections.
“Had Kamuzu not agreed to a referendum there would be no democracy. Had Kamuzu not conceded to usher in multiparty democracy there would be no democracy. So Kamuzu is the champion of democracy in Malawi,” said Chilima.
Chilima also hailed Kamuzu Banda for fighting colonial. He added that Kamuzu Day is an important and historic national event which must be remembered by the whole country.
On his part, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazarus Chakwera said the party embrace Kamuzu’s vision and seeks to unite all Malawians regardless of political affiliations.
Speaking on behalf of the Kamuzu family, politician Ken Kandodo said Kamuzu was a true leader who sacrificed a lot for Malawi.
He added that the former Malawi leader complete several development projects during his rule and handed over the presidency after being defeated in the 1994 elections.
“Let that be a lesson to those in power that there shouldn’t be bloodshed just because of one person,” said Kandodo.
Kamuzu is regarded as the founding father of Malawi and during his 31-year rule, built roads, hospitals, colleges schools and government buildings – many of which are still used today.
He is, however, criticised for the torture which his government inflicted on people in the country during his rule.
Banda died in 1997 at the age of 99.