In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) National Executive member and aspiring legislator for Dedza East, Juliana Mdamvetsa Lunguzi, says if elected on May 20, she will turn around Dedza East into a self-sustaining area that should, in a couple of years, be exporting surpluses.
Juliana, daughter to former late Inspector General of Police, Maximiano William Lunguzi told Nyasa Times that as individuals and more so collectively (in associations or clubs), smallholder farmers in her constituency can produce a variety of crops, including beans, cassava, groundnuts, rice and export surpluses.
Juliana’s priority: Agriculture
She said traditionally, Malawi has been self-sufficient in its staple food, maize corn, and during the MCP era exported substantial quantities to its drought-stricken neighbours – except in years of draught.
“The agricultural sector contributes approximately 64 percent to the total income for the rural population. We owe it to our smallholder farmers to find fair markets within and outside the country to uplift their livelihoods. And in this regard, I have a roadmap to see my constituency attain self-sufficiency in agriculture and start exporting,” she said.
Juliana said her party, the Malawi Congress Party, will reinforce her efforts towards delivering on this goal because it is the only party that realises that Malawi and Malawians can develop only with hard-work and self-reliance at the grass-roots.
“We have tried handouts – they have failed us. We have tried Starter Packs (TIP), then Farm Input Subsidy Programmes (FISP); and they have not translated into maize in ADMARC markets. We are now trying shoes. Personally, I have reservations if this is what development is all about,” she said.
Rationalising her slogan:
Juliana said the MCP Campaign 2014 slogan; “Nothing for Us without Us” is fully aligned with her constituency specific slogan: “Tingathe Kudzitukula! Ndizotheka!!!” (Together, we can!)
She went on to say that the party’s historic slogan: “Kwachaaaa!” symbolises the black cockerel calling upon Malawians to wake up, arise and go to work.
“Given these reinforcing slogans: ‘Nothing for Us without Us’ and ‘Together, we can!’ people of Dedza East and no-one else, are the ones who must and can and will, with my facilitation, develop Dedza East,” Juliana said with confidence.
Addiction to hand-outs and dependency undermining Malawi:
“I am running for office well aware that I have only one asset: my fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and children of Dedza East. Other Malawians, non-Malawians and institutions supporting Dedza East in various ways are precious, but at the end of the day, developing Dedza East must begin with Dedza East constituents and the first step is to mandate me on May 20 to institute a paradigm shift away from dependency and a culture of hand-outs.”
The dependency syndrome, according Juliana, is one of the reasons why, fifty years after political independence, Malawi is still hooked on donor support.
On the issue of hand-outs, her point of view is that they are an insult to the people.
“Show me, or name one leader who has been able to explain how they are able to get funding and resources for hand-out extravaganzas, when they cannot adequately fund hospitals and schools,” Juliana challenged.
Juliana said this must stop, and that there is no other way to get rid of this deterrent of development than getting the basics right at constituency level and electing the right leader at national level.
Dedza east ready to walk the talk:
“Are my brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and children of Dedza East up to the task? If they were not I would not have launched this quest. We have the resources, we have the potential. Missing has been encouragement and empowerment. And this is where I am stepping in. We will develop ourselves in Dedza East,” concluded Juliana.
- Juliana is a registered Nurse/Midwife who has enjoyed an outstanding career in public health and development management locally and internationally.
- She has a catalogue of accomplishments in national and international development initiatives in the health and youth sectors. She has experience in leading complex multi-scale operations, including in emergency and crisis situations.
- Blessed with an excellent team spirit, in 2010 her leadership potential was duly recognized by fellow staff members of the United Nations in Malawi who elected her President of the UN Staff Association in Malawi – a role she served in with distinction.
- She resigned in January 2014 from UNFPA Sudan to dedicate her life in the development of Dedza and to serve mother Malawi. She interacts with the world via her website www.julianalunguzi.com and her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/julianalunguzi