Malawi Pres. Banda hosts party leaders, Mutharika absent: Lake row with Tanzania discussed

President Joyce Banda on Thursday met leaders of all parties in Malawi at her official Kamuzu Palace in the Capital City, Lilongwe, hailing them for approaching national issues “with seriousness”.

In her brief remarks before the meeting went into camera, the President said she had invited the leaders to Kamuzu Palace so that Government could brief them on some of the developments in the country and also hear from them some matters of national interest.

Leader of Opposition and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President John Tembo led the pack. He was flanked by MCP parliamentarian Lingison Belekanyama.

Atupele Muluzi of UDF and his Secretary General Kandi Padambo were present so were Friday Jumbe and Joseph Kubwalo of Labour Party, Mark Katsonga of PPM, George Nnesa of MAFUNDE, Khwauli Msiska of AFORD and veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba.

From right- Friday Jumbe and Joseph Kubwalo chat with veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba at Kamuzu Palace during political party leaders' meeting with President Banda

From right- Friday Jumbe and Joseph Kubwalo chat with veteran politician Gwanda Chakuamba at Kamuzu Palace during political party leaders’ meeting with President Banda

There were also other eminent leaders at the meeting, including Professor Brown Chimphamba and veteran historian Desmond Phiri.

Besides the Head of State, the government side also had the Vice President of the Republic, Khumbo Kachali, Leader of the House and Housing Minister, Henry Duncan Phoya, Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume and governing People’s Party (PP) Secretary General Henry Chibwana.

Conspicuously absent at the meeting was Peter Mutharika, President of the Democratic Progressive party (DPP) despite earlier indications that he would attend the meeting.

“I wish to thank you, my fellow political party leaders, and distinguished eminent leaders of our society for your continued support in matters of national interest,” stated the President, adding that she was particularly impressed by their input and guidance on the issue of the Lake Malawi Border Dispute with Tanzania.

The President noted with pleasure that the opposition leaders demonstrated in Parliament that “as a country we can rise above petty political differences” and focus on national issues with seriousness.

“I thank you for the support in passing the 2013/14 National Budget and in the manner this sitting of Parliament was conducted,” she said.

The President called on the opposition leadership to give both moral and political support to the electoral process so that the country can achieve peaceful, fair and free tripartite elections in 2014.

Leader of Opposition Tembo said after the meeting the leaders had fruitful discussions with the Head of State and their counterparts on the government side. He hoped such consultations would continue, refusing to divulge any further details about the meeting.

President Banda greets Leader of Opposition John Tembo

President Banda greets Leader of Opposition John Tembo

Atupele Muluzi of UDF, right, and Leader of DPP in Parliament George Chaponda, in stripped necktie, were also there

Atupele Muluzi of UDF, right, and Leader of DPP in Parliament George Chaponda, in stripped necktie, were also there

AFORD's Khwauli Msiska hugs Gwanda Chakuamba at Kamuzu Palace

AFORD’s Khwauli Msiska hugs Gwanda Chakuamba at Kamuzu Palace

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