Malawi President Joyce Banda on Saturday launched her campaign to secure an “own mandate” as Head of State in the May 20 Tripartite elections, expressing optimism of emerging a winner resoundingly.
The President also pledged to sustain the country’s economic growth if elected to lead the southern Africa country under the banner of her People’s Party (PP).
Speaking to full capacity Civo Stadium in the capital Lilongwe, in a “orange” colourful even beamed live in national television, President Banda declared: It is Possible to transform Malawi. Nzotheka! It is possible for the People’s Party to win this election! Nzotheka! A better Malawi is possible. Nzotheka!”
Banda came to power in April 2012 on constitutional order as former vice president following the death if office of president Bingu wa Mutharika.
She told supporters that when from the time she ascended to power, she began a journey to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation.
“ We sought to see Malawians enjoy their freedom, dignity and sense of pride; and maximise their capacity to realise their social, political and economic empowerment. Over the past two years, the Peoples Party Government has worked together with all Malawians to fight poverty and unemployment and reduce inequality,” she said.
President Banda said despite the negative global economic situation and emerging challenges that the nation faced, her administration has been able to “heal” Malawi from “pain and despair” and that the country has now “ a population driven by hope.”
She reminded Malawians that PP inherited Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime an economy that was in crisis.
“Today we have turned around that economy. Indeed, in the short time I have been President, we have taken decisive action to heal the country, recover the economy, and build a strong foundation for growth,” she said.
Added she: “With confidence, we can say with joy that: It has been two years since our people spent hours on queues looking for fuel; It has been two years since our people and businesses struggled to access foreign exchange;
“It has been two years since bad laws were repealed and since then our people started enjoying their freedoms and civil liberties; It has been two years since the media started operating freely without Government harassment; and since our people started exercising their rights and enjoy their freedoms including demonstrations without Government killing them;
“It has been two years since punitive tax measures on private sector were removed and businesses started increasing their production capacity from 30 per cent to over 75 percent; It has been two years since tobacco buyers returned to the Auction Floors and our tobacco farmers started enjoying good production and prices;
“It has been two years since we are witnessing the increase from 281 megawatts to 352 megawatts of electricity generated and the rolling out of Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP 7) to 81 Trading Centres across the country;
“It has been two years since we have seen availability of maize in ADMARC markets across the country at reasonable prices and our people no longer fight for madeya; It has been two years after devaluation of the Kwacha and now we are witnessing inflation rates coming down; and the Kwacha regaining strength.”
Banda went on to say God placed her in the “transit lounge” to prepare Malawi to receive “the blessings of the next 50 years. To God be the glory.”
The Malawi leader who was accompanied by First Genteman, Chief Justice Richard Bands SC (retired) and also her vice presidential runningmate Sosten Gwengwe with all the heavy weights of the PP, pointed out that Malawi has once again become a better place to live and do business in and that the journey to recover the economy has been “difficulty but rewarding.”
Banda also said her government has taken “very far reaching measures” in dealing with fraud and corruption in Government including engaging foreign forensic auditors for the Cashgate scandal, saying the audit will cover the period from 2005 up to 2013.
JB as the Malawi leader is fondly called, said her PP is promoting a “ transformation agenda” to implement in the next five years.
“We cannot have a better time to take off than now. Today, we seek to mobilise and unite all Malawians around this common vision of a Transformation Agenda. The agenda that seeks to improve the lives of all Malawians through economic growth, wealth creation and political empowerment,” she said.
She also said PP Manifesto contains plans for addressing the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
JB said PP will continue “deepening a democratic governance and building a capable state and create conditions for the promotion of patriotism, social solidarity and social mobilisation.”
The President said the Integrated Rural Transformation will be anchored by Mudzi Transformation Initiative as the flagship programme to modernize rural areas and fight poverty.
“We recognize that unless the majority of our citizens become active economic citizens, as a nation we will not easily overcome poverty. In this regard, the main focus of the Peoples Party Government is to transform Malawi’s rural communities into vibrant hubs of agri-business and industrial activities and translate the country’s youth into a demographic dividend,” said JB.
PP, the Malawi leader said, will continue building decent houses for the people particularly those in rural areas and the urban poor; distribute more cows to more than one million families in five years; Provide more fertilizer and seeds to our people through the Fertilizer Subsidy Programme; Provide more fertilizer to our people through the Farm input Loan Programme; Provide potable clean water across the country; Build assets of households.
Other programmes, she said will include; Support rural farmers, farming clubs and cooperatives to access loans, grow cash crops, and access to markets; Support roads, health and education infrastructure development in rural communities; Support the development of cottage industries; Provide special housing schemes for serving low grade civil servants, for example, health workers, teachers, community and extension workers, police men and women; and Implement the Malawi Social Action Fund.
“I am committed to continue to champion the cause of the rural and urban poor. I am committed to continue champion the cause of women and youth. I am committed to continue champion the cause of the workers, the people with disability and the elderly. I am committed to continue champion the cause of the business community. Yes, I am committed to continue champion the cause of students,” said Banda amidst cheers from her supporters.
“Indeed, I am committed to rural transformation as the centre-piece of our transformational agenda. This is in response to the fact that life in rural Malawi is a continuous struggle and the rural folks are looking for a leadership and a government that can change their life circumstances forever.”
In her rallying call to voters to consider her ticket, Banda said she has full confidence in the people of Malawi that “we all share the same dream of a better future for our country, our families, and our children.”
The presidential race is likely to be a four-horse race between President Banda and three other opposition challngers who included Lazarous Chakwera (MCP), Atupele Muluzi (UDF) and Peter Mutharika (DPP) though other opposition leaders such as Friday Jumbe (New Labour Party), Mark Katsonga (PPM), James Nyondo (Nasaf) are contesting.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :