Malawi at 56

Raised flags, decorated streets, patriotic speeches and messages and stadium gatherings. This is the atmosphere in Malawi on 6th July every year. It is the day we as a country celebrate our freedom from the colonial regime.

It was on this day in 1964 that we were declared an independent nation by the British after nearly sixty three years of being a British protectorate.

My grandmother tells me it was one of the happiest days Malawi will probably ever have. Led by their prime minister Dr Kamuzu Banda Malawians celebrated as this symbolized a new dawn for us as a nation, it marked the beginning of a new era where we could decide the kind of Malawi we want.

“Independence brings joy and it brings responsibility. We of Malawi rejoice as our country takes its place among the free and independent nations of the world. But we do not ignore the challenges of the future and the burdens we may have to carry. We face it with the knowledge that we are a united people, loyal to the concept of a proud new Malawi. We are determined to lay the foundation for a sound and happy future”-

Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Malawi

Dr Kamuzu Banda could not have been more right in his independence message when he said this.

Over the past fifty six years Malawi has had to overcome and live with a lot of challenges that came with independence but just like he also mentiuin his message we have faced these challenges as a united people loyal to the concept of being Malawians.

56 years later is Malawi really independent?

Over the years there has been question of whether African countries are really independent. Politically Malawi has demonstrated that she is independent and capable of making sound decisions.

When we felt oppressed by Kamuzu’s one party regime in 1993 we chose to go for democracy and this saw Dr Kamuzu Banda being booted out of power and saw Bakili Muluzi being elected the first Democratic president.

Twenty six years later when Malawians felt this democracy being threatened by the 21th May, 2019 tripartite elections which were marred with serious regularities, we chose to protect it.

Led by Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima we filed a petition to the courts for a presidential re run on the basis that Peter Mutharika was not duly elected by Malawians. Despite serious opposition by Mutharika’s regime, the courts ordered that we have fresh presidential elections which were held on 23rd June, 2020.

These elections saw Dr Lazarus Chakwera being elected the sixth president of the republic of Malawi. The 23rd June elections were not just a matter of Chakwera’s regime overthrowing the previous regime, they symbolized just how far we as Malawians are willing to go to protect the democracy that was fought for in Kamuzu’s regime.

It symbolises the judiciary’s independence and its intention to uphold the rule of law. Chakwera’s rise to power also gives Malawians hope for change and symbolises the shift of both Malawian and African politics for the better.

But what is political independence without economic independence?

“It is common place for a country to wake up one morning after independence only to find itself enmeshed in a series of economic, political and other obligations which render political freedom meaningless”

Kenneth D. Kaunda, Zambia.

Fifty six years after independence Malawi still finds herself obligated to take on some policies that are sometimes not in line with what we need as Malawians.

More often than not we find ourselves having to adhere to what developed nations want us to do because we are financially dependent on the and in simple terms this is called Neocolonialism.

Neocolonialism is indeed one of the biggest challenges that we as Malawians have had to face since independence and it is this concept that has this far undermined our independence.

In his book “The African Dream”, Bingu was Mutharika dives deeper into the faces of neo colonialism in Africa. Until we do away with neocolonialism I believe Malawi can never be truly independent.

The Malawian dream

Today I find myself thinking about whether this is the kind of Malawi the likes of Orton Chirwa, Henry Chipembere and Chisiza had in mind when they fought for our country.

I would like to think it is not but then again I would never know what kind of Malawi they had in mind. What I do know however is the kind of Malawi I would like to see one day. A Malawi that is economically independent, a Malawi where we are all Malawians before we become tumbuka, chewa or yao, a Malawi where I am Malawian before I am a woman, a Malawi that is united and dedicated to building a better Malawi.

What makes 6th July, 2020 different?

This year’s independence day is different in more ways than one. Apart from celebrating our fifty sixth anniversary we are also celebrating the inauguration of His Excellency the sixth President of the republic of Malawi Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera who symbolises a new era and a dawn of hope for most Malawians.

This year is also different because of the the cancellation of the annual stadium gathering that is held in celebration of our independence due to the the corona virus pandemic that has turned the world upside down.

Happy fifty sixth anniversary to all Malawians!
God bless us all, God bless Malawi.
Covid-19 is real, Sanitize your hands, stay safe.

32030cookie-checkMalawi at 56

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