Aleke’s son backs Atupele, ‘new’ UDF to lead Malawi with change agenda

Thoko Banda, the son of one of the great conviction politicians the late Aleke Banda, who has been in diplomatic service for a long time, is supporting UDF president Atupele Muluzi’s Agenda For Change, saying it is time for the new generation to take over the reigns of power and bring new politics  with genuine democracy.

“I would feel very sorry for Malawi if younger Malawians don’t take over the reins of government next year,” Banda told Political Index in Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper, The Nation.

He said twenty-something year olds are effectively running huge multinationals with budg­ets that dwarf Malawi’s budget.

“When Malawi was becoming an independent nation in 1964, many young Malawians in their 20s and 30s were entrusted with developing this nation and, dare I say, they did, then, far better job than many of these older Ma­lawians have been doing in the past couple of decades.

Thoko Banda:Leadership must keep pace with changing world

Thoko Banda:Leadership must keep pace with changing world

“Names like John Msonthi, Aleke Banda, the Chisiza brothers, Henry Chipembere, Rose Chibambo, John Tembo, Kanyama Chiume, and many others were part of an entire generation of young Malawians who served Malawi competently even while in their youth. The leadership must keep pace with this rapidly changing world,” Banda said.

He underscored the UDF agenda for change rhythms that Malawi needs “ a new generation of political en­gagement, a new generation of ideas, a new generation of lead­ership.”

Banda said he is deeply worried that the poverty levels are worsening while the depths of public dis­illusionment are deepening in the country.

“In my view, it is important to get as many people contributing to the national dialogue in positive ways, tabling fresh ideas, explor­ing new ways as possible, in the hope that this will lead to a more meaningful electoral process next year.

“In my view, it is important not only to intensify the discus­sions and to focus on ideas rath­er than on personalities, but it is also vital that we all strengthen adherence to the Constitution so that people choose more wisely next time than they did last time. Atupele’s initiative is worth tak­ing seriously. I hope more young people will join this discussion with a focus on ideas and not on personalities,” he said.

Banda dismissed the ‘descendancy’ syndrome assertion attached to Atupele’s candidature as son of former president  Bakili Muluzi who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004, saying what is more im­portant for the future of Ma­lawi is that “we stop hearing the same failed ideas because it is ideas and not names that will either save this country or sink it further.”

Said Banda: “It is important that, at whatever levels, be it national or regional or district or village, leadership should be about vision and competence in the interests of the people and not about names or heritage of individual candidates. I believe that every Malawian of eligible age should feel free to contrib­ute whatever skills and energies they have for the improvement of the lives of our people, espe­cially for the benefit of the most vulnerable among us.

“What is more important, I feel, is that incompetence, corruption, eth­nocentricity and the like should not be passed on. Similarly, there is no hereditary birth right to leadership as would be the case in a monarchical system of government. Surely, it makes sense to talk about substance rather than about last names.”

Banda said if Malawians orient their at­titudes towards ideas and away from petty politics, the change agenda will transform the coun­try “in innumerable ways far quicker than we can even begin to imagine.”

He also said people are weighing the current Joyce Banda government’s claims about car­ing about children’s and other human rights against how the regime uses or abuses its pow­ers.

“They are seeing through the globetrotting development-beggar mentality while some in power divert and personalise scarce resources,” he noted.

Banda said “personalisation of public re­sources and abuses of power must stop. I urge all Malawians to join the agenda for change so that our country can change so that our people realise their destiny with a more dignified future.

“Malawi must, can, and will change—this I do believe,” he said.

Banda said he belives Atupele genuinely does want to open this country to a new political maturity, “one that respects the dignity of our people instead of talking down at people as is traditional in some other major parties. I respect that Atupele is making concerted efforts to encourage an inclusive dialogue, demonstrating a willingness to listen to diverse opinions.”

He stressed that he is committed to  help  Atupele  and UDF who want Malawians to take responsibility and ownership of our country and its future direction.

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