Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu paid a courtesy call on Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi in South Africa on Sunday.
Muluzi is currently undergoing medical treatment at Cape Town in South Africa.
Son to the former president, Atupele Muluzi, confirmed to Nyasa Times that Tutu met Malawi’s former president to congratulate him for his nomination for the Champion of Freedom Award by a pan-African organisation Africa Heritage Society (AHS).
“It was a courtesy call and Archbishop Tutu congratulated Dr Muluzi for being nominated for Champion of Freedom Award,” said Atupele in a telephone interview from Johannesburg.
Muluzi – who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004 – had been nominated for the award in recognition of his contribution to the democratisation of Malawi. He was scheduled to be presented the award on Sunday evening.
Atupele said Tutu paid tribute to Muluzi saying Malawi enjoyed a peaceful transition to democracy because of his leadership as he was a catalyst in the fight against one party rule and was the first multiparty president after he defeated dictator Kamuzu Banda.
Muluzi is also credited for consolidating democracy during his rule by establishing democracy institutions such as Office o f the Ombudsman, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi Human Rights Commission and also promoting freedom of expression.
He also restored rule of law and promoted human rights.
His successor and incumbent Bingu wa Mutharika is being accused by human rights campaigners, donors and faith leaders of sliding Malawi back to dictatorship.
Heritage Society is stressing the importance of recognising and honouring important leaders when they are still alive.
Previous recipients of the award include Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda.—Nyasa Times