Home » General » Reflections On Malawi’s Golden Jubilee [editorial]

WE join the people of Malawi in celebrating their golden jubilee of independence and wish them many more years of unfettered self-determination. Malawi attained independence from British colonial rule on July 6, 1964 with the late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda as the founding president of the new republic. The dawn of multi-party politics in 1994 saw four leaders leading Malawi: Bakili Muluzi, Bingu wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda and now Peter Mutharika.

It is fortuitous that Malawi’s golden jubilee coincides with the assumption of office of a new government determined to chart a glorious future for the warm heart of Africa.

The Golden Jubilee is also a moment of introspection: looking back to the past, the road travelled, the lessons learnt in order to better understand and negotiate the present in preparation for the future.

It is with this in mind that we acknowledge the role that Malawi’s founding fathers and mothers played towards its independence from colonial Britain.

These are men and women who were incarcerated and tortured by the colonial regime when all they wanted was self-rule and self determination.

They were detained together with their compatriots in Zimbabwe and Zambia then partitioned into Southern and Northern Rhodesia. The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland is also an important landmark in the history of Malawi and the region.

One of the most important lessons that Malawi gives to its compatriots in the sadc region and in Africa as a whole is that of peaceful co-existence despite having a number of ethnic groups.

Malawi attained its independence without shedding blood, and it has maintained that. There might have been challenges, but they have never led some groups in Malawi to go to war with each other, andor their neighbours.

This is an enviable record, which should be emulated by all AU member states especially those that have been mired in internal and regional conflicts.

As Malawi celebrates this 50th anniversary, it should strive to unite the nation even better so that Jubilee 2064 sees Malawi better off than it is today.

Malawi, as a member of the sadc region has also contributed immensely in the achievement of independence of other sadc member states, and it continues to give invaluable leadership in various areas of the region’s developmental issues. It currently holds the rotating chairperson of sadc.

However, it is Malawi’s human resource base that has steered the region’s economic growth and developments since the pre-independence era, for Malawian immigrants have provided cheap labour in the mining and agricultural sectors, especially in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

They have become part of these countries’ populations, and in the process have enriched the diversified cultural, social and economic aspects of the countries they now reside. They have also inter-married thereby cementing the region’s desire for unity and oneness.

Notwithstanding, the past 50 years have been fraught with challenges for the landlocked nation, chief among them, the economy and ensuring that it is transformed in a manner that ensures that all citizens, especially the young generation, benefit.

Like a number of countries in Africa, Malawi still depends on donor funding for 40 percent of its annual budget. At a time when the global economy is distressed, and when there is donor fatigue and strings attached aid, it is important for Malawi together with its regional and international partners to come up with policies that ensure that it has an economy that is self-sustaining. Failure to do this will perpetuate the poverty cycle in the country.

During president Bingu wa Mutharika’s time, Malawi’s food security was the envy of the region. Malawi has to revisit these policies and apply them.

It is gratifying to note that the recently elected President Peter wa Mutharika realised the tall order that his government and future administrations face in the coming 50 years when he said in his inaugural speech: “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, redefine Malawi, and make it progressive . . . Fifty years ago, in 1964, Malawi was born when we became politically independent. Today, in 2014, we inaugurate the rebirth of our nation. We inaugurate the lost dreams of our forefathers and fallen heroes. We inaugurate the spirit of economic independence. We re-launch a new, better, ger, proud nation once more. The pursuit of our dreams knows no limits, no boundaries, no skies. Our only problem is the way we think. The only barrier to our national achievement is our Belief in others at our expense.”

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Tomorrow, Malawi embarks on the second edition of another fifty-year journey.

Source : The Herald