SPECIAL TRIBUTE BY KONDWANI NANKHUMWA, MP Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Today, I take the privilege of joining the rest of the people in remembering one of our own, our Parent, our Child, our Leader, our Hero, our uncle, our friend, our Agogo, and one of the great sons of this world. This man taught us that the reward of public life is public progress.
He saw opportunities where many of us saw obstacles and impossibilities. While we were worried about mud and thunderstorms when we see a dark cloud, he saw green crops and bumper harvest. Where we saw gullies and rocks, he saw motorways and cities.
From the kitchen where they are seen as mere housewives, from the bushes where they are seen as mere seekers and carriers of firewood, from families where they are seen as mere bearers of children, he could see women advancing to the centre of socio-economic development, taking their place in decision making positions.
President Bingu wa Mutharika dreamt in colour. He repeatedly enjoined all of us to dream in colour, to push boundaries and achieve greatness. To Bingu, everyone mattered. He refused to accept that the youth were future leaders. He believed that the youth are leaders of today.
He believed that our physically challenged brothers and sisters must be part of the instrument of national development because they are not intellectually challenged nor incapacitated. My honour today, on behalf of more people than I could know, is to express our immense gratitude to God for the life of Bingu.
He was one of those rare people who graduated from poverty a long way back through his own industriousness. But as President, he still understood the importance of protecting others from the devastation of poverty. The achievements of this man are present in many things we take for granted today.
Bingu was driven by three objectives: -To promote equality; -To involve the people of Malawi in the decision making processes of our land; – To unleash talents and widen the horizons of Malawian people. Thankfully, these objectives are as fresh as they were when he first conceived and pronounced them. Who can say that liberating the talents and uplifting the horizons of Malawians is not a worth character for national leadership.
I share this consciousness with millions of Malawians whose experiences speak in some way or another to the great power of distributed opportunity authored by this man. He is a man whom it could be said, without a shadow of doubt that he harboured not a bone of racial, ethnic or gender prejudice in his body. For people like myself who had no chance had we been left to the means of our families, we cannot be more indebted to this man’s foresight and moral vision for universal opportunity.
Only those born truly bereft of opportunity know the power of the opportunity. Only those accustomed to its consolations can deprecate a public life dedicated to its furtherance and renewal. Bingu never wanted opportunity for himself. He possessed the keenest conviction in its importance. This is where the policy convictions of Bingu were so germane to the transformation of many millions of Malawians.
We therefore salute Bingu for his great love and dedication to this country and to the Malawian people. When he breathed, he truly was Malawi’s patriot. When he breathed, he was a leader who inspired the continent of Africa with his vision for the African people. When he breathed, he challenged global injustices on people in nations of less opportunity. Today, I dedicate my time in memory of this giant of a man! Rest Well, Bingu
KONDWANI NANKHUMWA- MP Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.