Likulu kuLilongwe chifukwa cha ANgwazi, cheKamuzu! Univesite kuZomba chifukwa cha ANgwazi, cheKamuzu! League of Malawi Women song

When the British authorities released former President H. Kamuzu Banda in 1961 at the dawn of independence, he’d spent 1959-1961, he came back to Malawi and straight broke into a song that he sang again and again. The song was repeated by his ministers and league of Malawi Women, known as his Mbumba.

One song that resounded with fervor and remembered even after 20 years after, is that while in Gwero Prison in Rhodesia (modern Zimbabwe), he had three dreams. The first dream was to move the capital from its cramped up hard-to-expand-development-projects-Zomba, to Lilongwe. The second was the Lakeshore Road linking the southern, central and northern regions. And the third was the University of Malawi in Zomba.

With monies borrowed from friends, creditors, former colonial master and other competing for Malawi’s favor or vote here and there in international political for a, the three dreams were realized in completion by 1975.

But capital moved to Lilongwe, Lake Shore Road constructed and University of Malawi established in Zomba, was accomplished with other short and long-term development projects. Among these were human resource development that took place with sending Malawians to foreign universities in the UK, US, France, Germany, Canada and other countries. In the meantime, the European civil servants that were inherited from the British, were asked to remain, so as to provide the country with continuity after Malawi attains independence.

Back to the song, once in power Kamuzu continued to sing his “When I was in Gwero…” liturgy; but he added to it and created other projects: bitumen roads and bridges, hydro-electric power generation, hospitals, hotels.

He even added a fourth dream to the song, when he cleared land in his home district and built a state-of-the-art Eaton in the bush Kamuzu Academy. Other than adding to the song charts line up for the mbumba to sing, the Academy provided a model upon which the education sector emulated. Incidentially, the University in Zomba was part of three constituent colleges (Polytechnic, Bunda and Chancellor Colleges). These were later joined by Kamuzu College of Nursing and Kamuzu College of Medicine.

The songs sung by Kamuzu and echoed by his ministers and mbumba, informs the people the dreams, development plans and awareness raising for such issues as immunization, sending children to school, close of fishing season, planting trees, and etc.

The songs Kamuzu sang, sometimes ad nauseum, but he needed to do this, and avoided rumour-mongering, misinterpretation or words placed in a deliberately closed mouth. Leaders need to sing songs of what they stand for and what they will do or have done.

It must be noted that while Kamuzu had his pet peeves, enemies of the state that he took jabs at, however the songs of his achievements took center stage and covered over 90 percent of his podium speeches.

It would be refreshing to hear songs from the political podiums of plans, achievements. This past week, news reports recounted that President Peter Mutharika on Friday, morning (November 10, 2017), in his official opening statement at the 47th session of the National Assembly, he told Malawian that the energy sector in Malawi has been neglected for 50 years. He said that investment in electricity only occurred in the 1960s and that no investments or improvement was made to this vital sector were in the last 50 years no investment.

However, the facts someone should have given the President for his statement are as follows:

1. Nkula A (24 Megawatts) commissioned in 1966;
2. Tedzani I (20 Megawatts) commissioned in 1973;
3. Tedzani II (20 Megawatts) commissioned in 1977;
4. Nkula B (60 Megawatts) commissioned in 1980;
5. Nkula B (20 Megawatts) upgrade in 1986;
6. Nkula B (20 Megawatts) upgrade in 1992;
7. Wovwe (4.5 Megawatts) commissioned in 1995;
8. Tedzani III (51.3 Megawatts) commissioned in 1995;
9. Kapichira I (64 Megawatts) commissioned in 2000;
10. Kapichira II (64 Megawatts) commissioned in 2014.

Under Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s 31-year Malawi Congress Party administration generated 219.8 Megawatts. Under UDF & Bakili Muluzi 10-year leadership, generated 64 Megawatts. The People’s Party under Joyce Banda, added 64 Megawatts in three years of governing.

Kamuzu’s songs normally rallied Malawians around the national drums, raving up our patriotic juices and gave Banda the vote again and again.