Chakwera says people turn presidents into dictators


President Lazarus Chakwera has promised Malawians that he will use his power to serve people and not to rule them, but he has warned that presidents become dictators because of people.

Chakwera was speaking today in Lilongwe during Kamuzu Day Memorial, an event held to celebrate the life of founding President Kamuzu Banda who is regarded by many to have been a dictator.

Chakwera and First Lady Monica Chakwera

The Malawi leader complained that people want a president to respond to every little thing and they also praise the president as if he is a god.

“I want to serve you and I will do everything possible to do this. But we should not reach a level where things can’t move unless there is a certain kind of dictatorship.

“I want everyone to get to work, to respect the law, to serve and to be united. That way, we will build our country together,” said Chakwera.

He also said that Malawians should always be aware of the fact that presidential power is a terrific servant but a terrible master.

He advised that Malawians now have a chance to restore the presidential power to its place of service.

“So long as I am President and God gives me breath, the powers of this office will only be used to serve you, never to rule you. So help me God,” he said.

Former Ppresident Joyce Banda laying a wreath

Chakwera in his speech also praised Kamuzu for laying the foundations of the country in terms of development. The president mentioned roads, hospitals and airport which were constructed during Kamuzu’s reign.

Speaking earlier, Kamuzu’s grand-nephew Ken Kandodo Banda asked the government to construct a fence, museum, washrooms and a library at the Kamuzu Mausoleum.

In response to Kandodo’s request, Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Usi said plans are already there to construct the structures. He then asked Chakwera to support the ministry so that it can undertake consultations works and construct the structures.

Mama Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira who was the official hostess during Kamuzu rule also attended the event.

Kamuzu ruled Malawi between 1963 and 1994. During his presidency, many people were forced to go into exile, some were imprisoned without trial or by Kangaroo courts. Arbitrary killings by state agents were also common.

He lost power after losing the presidency in the 1994 elections. Kamuzu died on 25 November, 1997.