LET US LIVE THE BINGU DREAM
Speech by President Professor Peter Mutharika at THE 2019 BINGU MEMORIAL, 5 April 2019.
It’s now seven years since we lost my brother Bingu. Seven years since we lost our national hero! Seven years of precious memories.
Every year in April, these precious memories return. Every year in April, we remember Bingu as a family man, Bingu the national legend, and Bingu the African Statesman.
Today, we gather as a nation to remember our leader in a special way. And this year, today, we came to commission Bingu’s statue.
Many Malawians who loved Bingu would have loved to see Bingu alive in this statue. They would have loved to see himself standing here. I have seen that desire for the real Bingu on social media yesterday.
Unfortunately, Bingu will never live again. Bingu died, but his spirit still lives on. The Dreamer died, but his dream still lives on. The Visionary died, but his vision still lives in you and me.
Bingu was such a remarkable soul that history cannot forget. He was a multi-talented man, renaissance man. These are talents I witnessed from the days we were growing up together. And he sharpened them ever more from perfection to perfection.
He was a gifted musician in his private life; a fine designer; a chef with tempting cooking; and a skilled political leader.
He wrote songs that are still played songs that are still played in the United States today under a pseudonym.
That was the kind of a man Bingu was. One day, he called and said “Tomorrow, you are leaving for China.” And I said, “Are you sure I can manage to leave at this short notice?” And he said, “Yes! You will go. Remember who is the President in this country.”
That was the beginning of our relationship with China that began to transform this country as we can see from this magnificent building (Parliament).
Above all, Bingu was a great leader and an inspiring statesman on this continent.
In Bingu, we celebrate a man who inspired us to be economically independent. He was a man who inspired us to be ambitious. And he often said, in the pursuing our dreams, “not even the sky is the limit.” And he worked hard for this country.
I remember one day, he called me at 11 o’clock in the evening. And he said, “I have an assignment for you. I want it by in the morning.” I said “Are you sure?” He said “Yes.”
I woke up and worked all night. Unfortunately, I never submitted that work because that is the day he died.
He often told us “to dream in colour.”
In Bingu, we celebrate an African statesman who urged Africa to turn its resources into wealth. His African Food Basket dream inspired many Africans.
Bingu reminded us that “Africans are poor, but Africa is not poor.” He challenged us to believe that we are a poor people in a rich world – and never to make poverty our choice.
Bingu taught us to walk with pride and shoulders high wherever we went around the world.
Bingu had an inspiring African Dream. He dreamt of an Africa that transforms us from poverty to prosperity. And he urged us to pursue this dream with passion, dedication and determination.
Bingu was a founder. He was there in founding COMESA. And Bingu remains the founder of the Democratic Progressive Party.
As a political founder, Bingu is a political father to many Malawians. We can only honour Bingu in pursuing his political dream.
Bingu taught us to believe in ourselves. And he taught us to be believe in the power of ideas. He taught us to be bold, and to stand up for what we believe in.
Bingu taught us to beat our own path to progress. And he challenged us that “the only way to get to our destination is to walk upon the path that leads to it.”
Bingu reminded us to be united. And he always loved to sing “Tiyende pamodzi, ndi mtima umodzi.”
I know there are many of us who love Bingu even in his death. There many of us who still cherish his words and dreams even in our own dreams.
And so, today, to all of you who love Bingu, I have one request today:
Let us live Bingu’s dream.
Let us continue the work he began. Let us finish the work he began.
Together, let us move Malawi from poverty to prosperity.
Let us move with one spirit, one vision as one Malawi.
Let us remember to believe in ourself.
Let us believe that we can make Malawi a great country. Let us believe that we are a great people in a small country.
Let us remember that change will never come to us because we are the change we want to see.
Remember that we cannot wait for transformation because we are the transformation we wait for.
As we renew our vision, our mandate, our dream – remember that we have the work that we started to finish. We have a dream to live.
We have Bingu!
Tiyende pamodzi ndi mtima umodzi!