Kenya president Mwai Kibaki has taken Malawians back on the memory lane when he described the country’s founding president the late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda as a true nationalism who inspired him and other Africans in United Kingdom.
Late President Kamuzu Banda

Late President Kamuzu Banda

The Kenya president was in Malawi for a two-day official visit and shared with Malawians that while in London, he, together with other Africans were greatly inspired by Dr. Kamuzu Banda and they persuaded him to consider going back home and lead his people in the struggle against freedom.

“As far as I can remember it was when I was studying economics in the United Kingdom that I visited Dr. Kamuzu Banda as a student.

“And because he had displayed a passion to liberate his people, we all encouraged him to go home and lead his countrymen,” the Kenyan leader said.

President Kibaki made the remarks in Lilongwe where he was also conferred the honorary freedom of the city status at the Lilongwe City Council Civic Offices.

The visiting Kenyan president also applauded the relationship between the two countries which he described as very solid and historical, dating back to the days of the first Ngwazi.

Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda broke the “stupid federation” and Malawi for nearly three decades under the one party rule of the mighty Malawi Congress Party.

He is also best remembered as being bold enough to allow Malawians hold a referendum on whether they wanted multiparty politics or not in 1993 and accepting the outcome.

“The relationship between Malawi and Kenya is very good and historical. My country has always been friendly to all the past regimes in Malawi and we will strengthen the ties even more with the current government,” Mwai Kibaki, who will be leaving the presidency in two months’ time after his mandatory two terms, said.

In addition to holding bilateral talks with his Malawian counterpart, on January 17 president Kibaki laid a wreath at the tomb of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda before unveiling a plaque to mark the ground breaking foundation of a Lilongwe City West Bypass road later in the day.

Joyce Banda ascended to the presidency of Malawi in April last year after the sudden death of professor Bingu wa Mutharika. And for the past nine months high profile dignitaries like Nigerian president, Good luck Jonathan, US secretary of state Hilary Clinton, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, and wife to US business magnate Melinda Gates, have visited Malawi.

Principle secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Patrick Kabambe disclosed on January 17 that Kenya and Malawi will reopen the countries embassies, closed a decade ago.

The two countries also agreed at a business forum jointly held in Lilongwe to strengthen their trade ties. Both countries are members of the World Trade Organisation and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

Last week, the Kenyan president, rejected plans by members of parliament in his country to triple their end-of-term bonuses and award themselves diplomatic passports, bodyguards for life and State funerals, Reuters reported.

President Kibaki rejected a similar attempt to raise their send-off pay in October last year.

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