Africa-Press – Malawi. Kondwani Nankhumwa, Malawi’s Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, caused a stir among the government benches in Parliament on Monday, February 20, 2023, when he tore apart President Lazarus Chakwera’s State of the Nation Address, which he delivered on Friday, February 17, 2023.
But who is Kondwani Nankhumwa?
Kondwani George Malemia Nankhumwa, popularly known as KN, was born on 3rd July 1978 at Mulanje Mission Hospital in Malawi’s tea growing district of Mulanje. He is the first-born child in a family of four boys. He was given the name Kondwani at birth while his middle name George was later given to him by his uncle, Mr. Ramsey Gambatu.
Both of his parents are deceased (May their souls continue resting in peace). His mother was Margaret Malemia of Mwamadi Village, T/A Chikumbu in Mulanje while his father was Lotani Nankhumwa of Kumponda Village, T/A Chikumbu in the same district.
At the age of five, young Kondwani George Malemia Nankhumwa embarked on his academic journey at Chisitu Primary School in Mulanje district. His mother would get transferred from Mulanje Mission Hospital where she was working as a Hospital Attendant to Holy Family Mission Hospital in Phalombe.
To avoid disturbing her son’s academic calendar, his mother decided to leave behind little KN in Mulanje under the care of his maternal grandmother, Mrs Beatrice Malemia, nee Gambatu. This development made him to spend a better part of his childhood in Mulanje.
During this time, his relatives at his homestead preferred to call him by his middle name George and not his first name Kondwani. The name George, therefore, became more popular among his peers to the extent that others did not know that his birth name was Kondwani.
KN would later on move to Dedza to live with his aunt, Mrs Jesse Lingani, nee Malemia. His migration to Dedza was largely due to the fact that he was looking for a place at a primary school where he could increase his chances of being selected to a government secondary school after failing to get selected at Chisitu Primary School in Mulanje.
In Dedza, he enrolled at Chitundu Primary School as a Standard 8 pupil. Luckily, he was selected to Mayani Secondary School in the same district under the name Kondwani George Malemia Nankhumwa. That was in the year 1994.
KN started displaying traces of leadership as early as 1995 when, despite his young age, his fellow students at Mayani Secondary School elected him the school’s Head Boy when he was just a junior learner in Form 2. KN held that position until he was in Form 4.
In 1998, he obtained his Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) from the same school. Unfortunately, he was not one of the lucky ones to be selected to pursue tertiary education at the University of Malawi, which was the sole public university at that time.
KN decided to pursue a journalism career, and enrolled with Greffa Communications Institute, which was one of the few private colleges training journalists in Blantyre at that time, where he obtained a Certificate in Mass Communication.
After his graduation, KN worked with the Mulanje District Information Office as an Assistant District Information Officer. He would later become very popular within Chisitu area and surrounding villages due to his journalistic work.
His professional career got a huge boost when he secured a job with the public broadcaster, Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) where he was initially recruited as a junior reporter.
KN was still relentless in his academic pursuit. He enrolled with the Ugandan Education Research Academy (ERA) where he obtained three (3) professional qualifications namely, Intermediate Certificate in Mass Communication (1999), Diploma in Mass Communication (2001), and Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication (2005). Meanwhile, he rose to the position of a Senior News Editor in the News and Current Affairs Department at MBC.
While still at MBC, KN established a private media consultancy firm, Mzati Media Communications, which specialized in the production of advertisements, jingles and documentaries, among many other media related products. The current Mzati Media Group (Mzati Radio and Television) is an offspring of Mzati Media Communications.
Nankhumwa is also the brain behind the establishment of Blantyre College of Journalism (BCJ), now defunct. KN also worked as Personal Assistant to the late former Cabinet Minister, Eunice Kazembe. Around 2008, KN also had a short stint with the World Vision Malawi where he worked on a contractual basis as Projects Manager responsible for the Sapitwa Region.
Following the establishment of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005, some DPP gurus approached KN and talked him into joining mainstream politics.
Apparently, the DPP had done a research at that time and established that KN was the most popular candidate to take over the Mulanje Central parliamentary seat from the then incumbent Brown James Mpinganjira. KN went on to win the parliamentary seat in 2009. While at Parliament, KN was elected Chair of the Media Committee of Parliament.
In 2011, the late former President Professor Bingu wa Mutharika appointed KN as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. His first five-year term as a Member of Parliament (MP) was such a huge success that the people of Mulanje Central re-elected him during the 2014 general elections.
In 2013, the youthful Kondwani Nankhumwa was elected at DPP’s national convention as the party’s National Director of Elections. KN helped the DPP and its presidential candidate, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika emerge victorious coming from the opposition during the 2014 tripartite elections.
Nankhumwa served in various cabinet portfolios under the administration of former President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika (APM) from 2014 until 2020. KN was Minister of Information, Communications and Technology, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. KN also served as Leader of Government Business in the Malawi National Assembly.
In 2018, KN was elected to the position of DPP Vice President responsible for the Southern Region at the party’s national convention, which was held on 3rd July at COMESA Hall in Blantyre.
In keeping with his relentless academic pursuits, KN obtained a Master’s Degree in Diplomacy and International Relations from the African University of Guidance and Counselling in 2018. KN is also holder of a PhD in Diplomacy and International Relations obtained from the USA-based Atlantic International University (AIU) in the year 2021. KN is the incumbent MP for Mulanje Central constituency and he is also the Leader of Opposition in the Malawi National Assembly.
It must be emphasized that KN has always been *KONDWANI* *GEORGE* *MALEMIA* *NANKHUMWA* since he was born. There was no any other Kondwani Nankhumwa in his area apart from the current Leader of Opposition in Parliament. Nankhumwa’s life story is that of humble beginnings and rising through the social and political ladder through hard work, resilience, and the fear of the Lord.
It is clear that KN faced a lot of obstacles whilst growing up but despite such obstacles, he defied all odds and made it in life. This is the reason why his success story ought to be celebrated by all and sundry. He is a ‘self-made’ man. His story is inspirational. It tells us that one might have a poor background but through hard work, self-belief and perseverance, it is possible to turn around one’s fortunes and make it to the upper echelons of political power and become one of the most successful politicians of our time. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a brief account of one Kondwani George Malemia Nankhumwa’s improbable life journey.