It is not strange to name national projects after individuals especially heroes. But as some countries do it good faith, in most African countries such tendency is taken as tool to build a personality cult which in turn works to the advantage of the ruling party. This has also become a disease in Malawi’s political sphere. Our politicians fail to contend why the first president Kamuzu Banda was obsessed with naming national projects after his name. The fact is that he was a leader in undemocratic society and all what he wanted was to build a personality cult and made people to believe that everything belonged to him. That is the same with dictator Adolf Hitler of Germany who reached an extent of rewriting history of the country to make sure that his name dominates in the country’s road to greatness.
Is this the way to go in the 21st century? Your guess is as good as mine. We do not need such archaic mindset. All citizens contribute to the national projects. And that is why Cuban President Raul Castro on 3 December 2016 said that his government would prohibit the naming of streets or public monuments after his brother Fidel in keeping with the former leader’s desire to avoid the development of a personality cult. Congratulations are in order Mr. Raul Castro; you are relevant to the 21st century.
Now let us come to Malawi. In 1994 under the hot debate between the NCC with representatives from opposition groups and NEC with representatives from the government of MCP, it was agreed that national monuments and all projects and symbols that depicts the country must refrain from having names of individuals. This was concluded taking in mind the twisted mindset that citizens had planted in their hearts that can also be recognized on the songs that youth and women of Malawi sung, the song ” ZONSE ZIMENE NDI ZA KAMUZU BANDA” impacted so much in the making of a dictator in Malawi. Enlightened men and women in the NCC/NEC agreed that no name shall be used on national symbols and projects in order to avoid past repetition. It was then agreed that so many projects names be renamed to remove the mindset from citizens who suffer much from politicalmalytis. Kamuzu stadium was changed to Chichiri. Kamuzu international airport was renamed Lilongwe informational airport and it was agreed never again will the living hero be put on national currency, hence the introduction of John Chilembwe as a symbol of nationalism on Malawi currency.
When Muluzi’s bid for an extension term was rejected he bypassed his fellow comrades in the likes of Aleke Banda, Justine Malewezi, Brown Mpinganjira, Cassim Chilumpha, Harry Thomson and others who were well versed with the gospel of our democracy and it’s roots to choose an outsider Bingu Wa Mutharika to take over from him. By thinking Bingu would be his “Yes Boy” Muluzi missed the bird. Bingu became his own man and trying to convince the central region as well as northern region Bingu infected himself with the deadly virus of politicalmalytis. He went on to change the foundation document and started renaming national projects baptizing himself with politics of appeasement inorder to coerce die hard supporters of Kamuzu Banda from the centre to come closer to him and his party.
The disease of politicalmalytis is impacting badly on our quest for renewal and transition from national trust to individual dependence.
Today after the Chinese donated conditionally a state of the art stadium instead of giving it national name politicalmalytis is dictating that it be called Bingu Stadium.
Many citizens in Malawi do not understand how governance works. Just as we thought Kamuzu Banda owned the country this belief is still there in the hearts of many that Bingu and his brother owns Malawi and everything in it.
Some of the things that politicalmalytis has caused into our society needs civic education but enlightening environment need to be provided to make our people know that national projects such as roads, stadiums, enhanced agriculture, irrigation development are universal. International organizations are pushing for uniform development among regions and areas .
This is why similar facilities of the type of a stadium are built in Zambia, Gabon, Mozambique and elsewhere. It is not because of Bingu Wa Mutharika, Joyce Banda or Peter Mutharika. These are developments that must come. Even if the country was in the hands of unknown citizen still these developments could have come. Let us therefore stop giving national projects individual names of people particularly politicians.
Any national development must have a national name not people’s names. State house in Lilongwe was not supposed to bear the name of Kamuzu Palace if there was no politicalmalytis, that house the Ngwazi initiated its construction because we needed a national house, therefore to name it after Kamuzu was wrong. The house must be called Malawi House or National State Palace.
This is one way ignorance will dry in the minds of many by recognizing that developments of a country do not come because of a president or individual person. The tax that we pay is what brings development in other words it is us the people that develops our own country. In addition to all these the money we get from outside in terms of letters of credits, loans, grants and other sources of international funding come into our country not because of a president or political party but because it is a country where citizens pay tax and it is from our tax money that loans and credits are paid from.
Decorating presidents and leaders show how politicalmalytis has plagued Malawi after 53 years of Independence. These leaders are stealing our tax monies and stash outside the country if they were good people deserving to be given national projects names they could not be stealing from the very country they want to be decorated.
Malawi must wake up and smell the coffee, do not decorate thieves, do not decorate servants otherwise with our decoration we are giving them passports to steal more and leave us empty hands. Case in point the cash gate issue whose money was stolen? It is our tax money that we pay in tax why should we thank a person who is paid to do the job?
Malawians must know that Peter Mutharika, George Chaponda and the entire team of DPP are not doing our country or we citizens a favour. If anything it is us who are doing them a favour because we employed them to render service to our nation, and instead they are stealing from us but we are quite; this is a favour we are doing them otherwise we were supposed to chase them and remove them.
Malawi! Time has come for us to stop accepting and tolerating childish things in our nation.
I still insist Bingu Stadium must be renamed National Stadium of Malawi in short Nastam.
Saunders Jumah the Utopian
SAVE MALAWI FOUNDATION [SAMAFO] we can destroy Malawi with our hands but with our very hands we can rebuild Malawi.