Joyce Banda plays down political question at London School of Economics

Malawi former president Joyce Banda refused to be drawn into political debates during questions time at London School of Economic and Political Science during her public lecture when one member of the audience asked her a question.

oyce Banda recount her story at a public lecture at the London School of Economics

oyce Banda recount her story at a public lecture at the London School of Economics

A student from Malawi, Atupele Chakwera, asked Banda if the current government is failing when compared with her achievements when she was Head of State.

Banda, who has been given fellowship by the top university, responded:” I have no answer to that question, statistics are there for people to come up with their own conclusions.”

She gave a public lecture on: “Investigating women’s journey into public life: Above the Parapet” on Wednesday and again went into a lecture in Public Administration class as part of her fellowship.

In her lecture, Banda said when she became president against all odds, insinuations and perceptions that Malawi was not ready for a woman President particularly at time when the country was a verge of collapse; she made several critical policy decisions that demonstrated that women leaders are risk takers.

“I had to make a painful but necessary decision to devalue the currency by almost 40 percent in order to save the economy from collapse, knowing very well the consequences of such decision on the popularity of my leadership. However, I was convinced that it was the best decision I could do for my country and my people,” she said.

Banda said her government pursued an open and inclusive society where all those who were refused radio and television licences merely on political grounds were given.

Furthermore, she said her administration repealed most of the oppressive laws that impinged on peoples’ freedoms and rights. These included Section 46 of the Penal Code which empowered the Minister of Information to close media houses.

“It will be noted that these changes contributed significantly to the overall growth and in making Malawi to achieve the biggest leap in the 2013 World Press Index on press freedom.  As a result of my Government’s actions, Malawi moved from position 146 in 2012 to position 75 in 2013 in the World Press Index,” said Banda.

She also credited herself on the l liquidation of Air Malawi, the country’s flag carrier.

“I liquidated Air Malawi which had collapsed and became a burden on the Government budget for many years. My predecessors had failed to deal with the matter on many occasions for fear of public reaction. Today, we have established a new airline in a Joint Venture with Ethiopian Airlines,” she said.

Banda also said she instituted legal framework for the holding of local government elections as she believed that without devolution of power and services, Malawi could not meaningfully develop our people.

“Indeed for the first time in Malawi, we had tripartite elections leading to the establishment of Local Governments. Malawi had operated without Local Councils for more than 18 years,” pointed out the former president.

Banda also said she developed Economic Recovery Plan which sought to spearhead the economic recovery process of the country.

“We had prioritized five sectors: agriculture, mining, tourism, energy and infrastructure development. Each sector had three priority projects which were designed to spur growth and a turnaround of the economy. The Plan also provided for social protection programs that cushioned the poor and disadvantaged from the adverse effects of the reforms.”

Banda in her lecture said upon learning the nature and gravity of theft of resources in the public service, dubbed cashgate scandal, she   immediately instituted a forensic audit by external auditors.

Upon becoming State President, Banda established the Presidential Initiative for Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood where she mobilised traditional leaders, women, communities and the private sector to rally support for the safe motherhood and maternal health.

“Indeed these initiatives helped to remarkably improve the situation I found. We were able to reduce maternal mortality from 675 to 460 deaths per 100,000 live births. United Nations Family Planning Agency (UNFPA) acknowledged this achievement and The African Union Commission gave an award to Malawi for this achievement in 2013.

“I also established the Presidential Initiative for Poverty and Hunger Reduction where we mobilised women and youth into cooperatives, farming clubs and linked them to anchor farms for mentorship. We gave them seeds, a cow a family, linked them to markets and introduced them to modern farming technologies. I up scaled irrigation agriculture and introduced two crops a year to overcome dependence on rain fed farming and thereby broaden our production base and enhance foreign exchange generation,” said Banda.

She said the Initiatives were meant to fast track the economic recovery program in mobilising foreign exchange, ensuring food security; enhance incomes and nutrition at household level.

Appreciating the importance of energy to industry and households, she fast tracked the rollout of rural electrification programme where her administration installed electricity to 81 trading centres in the rural and sub-urban areas; and added 64 megawatts to the national grid with a view that this would impact on many livelihoods majority of whom are women.

“We managed to move the country from 2.1 million people who were food insecure in 2012 to a harvest of 3.9 million metric tonnes maize production in 2013/14 season representing 9 percent higher than the previous season. This accounted for overall 1.5 million metric tonnes surplus maize and with 10 percent increases in other food crop production.”

Banda said her government recovered the economy from 1.8 percent in 2012 grew it by 6.3 percent GDP in 2013.

“We increased our foreign exchange reserve cover from under one week in 2012 to over three months in 2014. The factories were operating at 35 percent when I came in where operating at more than 85 percent when I left.  Fuel supply was at less than a day when I came in, and moved to more than 15 days when I left.  We had initiated a water project in every district; and a model village in every district,” said the former Malawi leader.

According to Banda, growth is not merely GDP growth but it is about wealth and prosperity for all, opportunity for all, happiness for all, political and economic freedom for all.

“Growth is also about growing the number of children in school, and young people in jobs.  Growth is about growing the number of mothers who give safe birth in a hospital, of growing the number of families who have plenty of food,” she said.

Banda prides herself for making progress towards healing the country from tribal and political divisions and strife.

In the fight against theft in government, Banda said she received very good support from civil servants where they drew the Action Plan to reforming the Financial Management Information System in the public service.

Fellow leaders  in Africa and the international community also provided valuable support all of which contributed greatly to her Presidency.

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33 thoughts on “Joyce Banda plays down political question at London School of Economics”

  1. Stella says:

    Good Work Mama…Achievements you can go to the podium and proudly talk about!

  2. exodus chenembu says:

    thanks mrs president only time will tell

  3. tsamba says:

    Number 11. you must be stupid. why undermine the intellegince of Malawians. They elected APM to be their President. Iwe imfuna ndani? uzamuvotere wakiyo 2019 wamva? Tione ngati ati adzawine. Mulira mulira mpaka magazi mmalo mwa misozi. ntokuuzani akwaka.

  4. JJ says:

    DOES THIS IMPLY THAT YOU DID NOT HAVE SHORTFALLS YOUR HONOUR? A VISIONARY LEADER WILL ALWAYS ATTRIBUTE SUCCESSES TO HIS PEOPLE,ACCEPT AND RECOGNISE CHALLENGES SO AS TO FIND SOLUTIONS TO THE CHALLENGES. SAYING YOUR POSITIVISM IS A SIGN OF GREEDY AND ASKING FOR FAVOUR FROM THE WHITES.TRULY YOU HAD YOUR DOWNFALLS SUCH AS PLUNDERING OF PUBLIC RESOURCES,STALEMATE OF NSANJE INLAND PORT, BARRING PETER FROM NDATA PREMISES,…………..

  5. Chikoko says:

    Mayi nkhani yomanga masukulu,zipatala ,misika yamidzi ngakhale mutauni simuvomereza kuti Peter akuti lamulira azungu sambale anu kwanu kwanu munipeza osawanamiza mbalo ku siyirana cashgates mbweeee! boma simunaliyendetse bwino unamaliza kuyenderayenda

  6. victim Chamkhuni Lwazazi says:

    Indeed the nation was saved from economic collapse. Let’s face reality without being political.
    Problem: Too much internal and external traveling – Distribution of few small cows and maize could be done by DCs, governors and others on her behalf. She would still get the credit. Otherwise the allowances, fuel and security costs were too high, defeating the purpose. People should sometimes miss the president on tv or radio.

    Otherwise, her polices were super.

  7. mai nsato says:

    JB was not elected per se as malawi’s president. she was a take over person or merely a care taker due to bingu’s death which she had celebrated over it. indeed malawi is was not / is not and will not be ready for a woman president in the next 50yrs or more. JB must be ashamed of her stealing in cash-gate and is making a mockery of herself in top universities of the world. Let her go to Oxford and present her rubbish. She will not dare. Not even Tony Blair a past student of Oxford tried to go to Oxford to talk rubbish. He was barred. Oxford is not a joke of an institution. Go to China, America and other universities jb where you can lecture your rubbishes madam chief thief.

    You Atupele Chakwera!! you are another fool. Why couldn’t you ask whether she is not involved in the cash-gate? You could have seen her freezing….

  8. [email protected] political institute says:

    Dadaboma is another psychiatric,you mean maintaining the chief godmother cashgate could have helped malawi? u must be a beneficiary of cashgate.by the were u among the prisoners being refered to as LSE? How can a whole unversity be lectured a godmother of cashgate?? sad.

  9. AKIMU GAGA says:

    JB UR A LADY OF AN EXTRAORDINARY WISDON (GAGA MZUNI)

    1. Kenny Chapola says:

      Stop lying to yourself

  10. Charter says:

    She is right! Malawians, we for get too easily. The notorious media laws, the economy + forex issues, etc. Just that cashgate and jetgate still need explanation! It is a classic case of how tsabola mmodzi angaononge msuzi! You did your best mama, just that we needed you to tell us honestly about the xgates.

  11. Nyani wa ku Mwananyani says:

    JB always said, she ascended to the presidency by the will of God, after Bingu’s death. Why does she now not say she was defeated, in fact came third in the elections, also by the will of God? The same God.
    What a failed presidency that was of hers! Simply defined by theft, simplicity and lack of focus. A thicket of problems, created by her and her PP, awaited APM to solve when he came to office. JB should be honest enough to say in her “lectures” that all she succeeded in was to set our country back at least ten years. This view is consensus on the street in the cities, at Bao games, and even in the drinking places all over. She cannot deny this. She should be honest, for a change.

  12. Chipoya LJ. says:

    I wonder if at all this woman is a real patriotic Malawian. How can a reasonable person go to western countries with an aim to dent the image of her own country.

    Remember, she is the same person (JB) who in 2010 told donors to stop funding Malawi in order to dent the good image of late Bingu. Now she is busy outside denting the image of DPP and its leadership so that DPP should fail to accomplish its vision and promises thereby making or declaring DPP a failure

  13. Shimoshimo says:

    She tried her best as a lady

  14. Fina says:

    Yes Dr Banda you are correct, “Growth is not merely the GDP growth but it is about wealth and prosperity for all, OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL, happiness for all, political and economic freedom for all and growing the number of children in school….”

    Yes, I do agree with your above quote and I am going to emphasize on that, which says, “Growth is about giving OPPORTUNITIES TO ALL”. Giving platforms to the “Nobody’s in the political society” meeting with you so that they can work together with you resulting in adding value to that growth. As the Bible puts it, “Mental sharpens another Mental”. I always admire you, and have confidence in you taking Malawi to the next better level. Please can I have a chance of meeting with you. I tried when you were expelled from DPP without success, when you were in the Office, without success and when you were in London at LSE without success and finally when I sent an e-mail to the Malawian High Commission the night after your lecture at LSE, and still all in vain.

    I am out of ideas as to how to find you to meet with you.

    If anyone out there reading this can put me in contact with Dr Banda, or can pass on the message of my plight to her – please do get in touch.

    Regards
    Fina

  15. bauleni says:

    If LSE considers JB to be a success and an intellectual then this begs the question what kind of shallow crappy school is this? a simple Google search would tell u all u need to know about this accidental president! maybe they dont have laptops??! or maybe they r just stupid like JB! birds of a feather flock together!

  16. Mungotayako nthawi kumeneko amayi kazibwerani chifukwa zomwe mwawauza azunguzo ife sitinazione, kaya awuzeni angwira kuti ayambepo kunena kuti malamulo asinthe kuti azungu azavote nawo mwina nkuzawavoterako.

  17. Overseer says:

    Tell them you masterminded plundering of public resources in a bid to strengthen yourself and your party pp. Please dont be a hypocrate.

  18. Paul J.C.Mwafulirwa. says:

    Majority of Independent African countries have,at one point or another, managed to achieve some level of economic growth. However,there has been no corresponding economic development( spread of wealth). Wealth is stuck in a few hands or institutions. Our priorities seem to be upside down or mare selfcentrediness is overwhelming. National worth that grows and reaches the majority of the population who live in rural areas has the potential of transforming the country. Some of the Programmes instituted during the JB administration had the potential of spreading national worth and need to be sustained.

  19. dadaboma says:

    This is the leader Malawi should have maintained to make progress in economic and social development. Now that Malawians decided to turn their backs on JB they are coming head-on to face economic and social misery similar or worse to Bingu’s DPP. We have at the helm of political leadership the chief perpetrator of economic and social misery. No efforts of whatever type and magnitude will ever work to pull Malawi out of economic and social abyss because Malawians are dunderheads.

    1. Objective no party affiliation says:

      Which Malawians? You mean Mbendera and Kalonga? Peter was imposed by these guys on Malawians

    2. Galunyani says:

      Bwana mumasuta chambatu inu, Pali nzeru apa?

  20. Nkemu wanguo says:

    7 out of 10 (70%). Zinazo ndi zokometsera chabe.

  21. namarokoro says:

    This we call “kudzikwata ndi chala”. There is nothing you did apart from setting our beloved country 10 years behind. You were not voted in as a president but became one by lucky. That is why Malawians in large numbers did not vote you as a president during erections. You failed miserably, and you had no clue on how to run a country, you are disgrace to Malawi. Somehow in your small brain you believe that by lobbying overseas, azungu will help you be popular in Malawi, and become president again in Malawi. Your time had gone you lost a big chance of becoming stateman or statewoman of the like of Mandela. Remember Mandela did not go overseas and blew his own trumpet, people respect him by his deeds and osati kudzichemerera. Come back home your husband need you. Peter is driving Malawi now!!!

  22. Chikopa says:

    Kodi anapangisa kuti ma donors asiye siinu nomwe mayi munayamba maboza 2010 chifukwa mmafuna u prisident mutapasidwa udindo kuyankhula zina kumbali mupanga zina, ukumukuyankhula ndi lutepo ife mukutiuza zina like Arsenal fc good handwriting but long answers

  23. phunda says:

    You did your best but you trusted traitors ,the likes of Kasambala, Lutepos and others. You dug your own grave by leaving out your own party and the people you started the party with. That was your first mistake. Kusamva when you were told to stop distributing maize,cow and those travels. But thank God you were president. Though you lost, you are still being looked by government till death but where are your party followers especially those you told to wait for your term since you were finishing Dpp’s term?

  24. Marvericj says:

    Inunso ma mediocre xuls of Europe, do you think if that woman was doing well during her reign she could have lost the elections miserably? Up t position 3 a reigning president! zonachitikako kuti zimenezo???

  25. Happening boy says:

    People will talk ill of you but God I serve will always safeguard you for the better things you have done to this poor nation leaders are born and mentored. You have all what it takes to take Malawi to another level because you have a listening ear and you know Malawi and and the people in Malawi, you know what exactly they want and you know what Malawi as a country wants not these mitchonas.

    l wish I was one of God’s angels who can reach God so easily and tell God about you but remember not all dressed in trousers are men and not all in dresses and skirts are women. I leave you with Psalms 23 and if you happen to find time, read Job 42, mainly verse 5. I salute you mama JB.

    1. Inu says:

      First of all, being a listening person is not always a good thing. It depends on who you listening to. Who was JB listening to? Malawians told her to stop excessive travels, doing the work of areal chairmen or at best DCs, stop distributing all sorts of things, to be in the office and work with her cabinet. Did she ever listen? No. Instead she listened to those who told her all the people who criticized her were doing so because she was a woman.

  26. manunkha says:

    viva joyce banda. Away with this tribalist and corrupt president called peter

  27. Chilima wa tuma change says:

    JB analidi mayi wa fuko. The only time i felt a Malawian. But now i wish i were born in Zambia where there is no Lomweism. Why did my forefathers bring me to this very Stupid country where a whole president discriminate a whole region very very Foolish country with Foolish thinking & very Foolish Stinking Tribalism. Uncivilised citizens. Black skin black thoughts black policies black future. I hate being born to the Black race

  28. Peter Benga says:

    Jb achieved alot in the short time she was the head of state.It was just unfortunate for unpatriotic citizens not to cast their votes on her

  29. Fwetseke says:

    She lost misserably

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