Asian business community sees ‘redemption’ in Joyce Banda

The Asian business community in Lilongwe this week  met the new Head of State, President Joyce Banda at her official Lilongwe State Lodge in the Capital City and later expressed optimism that they see “redemption” in her.

In an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on Thursday, leader of ‘delegation” Abdul Zakir Mussa said the previous Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of the late Bingu wa Mutharika did not generally appreciate the positive and “immense” contribution that the Asian business community made towards the country’s economy.

“We were subjects of ridicule; the Head of State would often blame the country’s economic woes, which were of their own making, on us. We were accused of being behind the shortage of forex and other myriad of woes that the country suffered,” Mussa told Nyasa Times, adding that this was not entirely true because “there are some Asians here who are honest and law-abiding business persons”.

He said that on meeting the new President, the 12-member delegation was convinced that the Asian business community in the country “would claim their rightful position; that of positively contributing to the growth of the economy and being appreciated for that” as the case were before the advent of DPP.

Mussa said the business gurus who went to meet the President congratulated her on ascending to the High Office in the land and assured Her Excellency  of their total commitment to helping her government overcome the prevailing sorry economic state.

President Banda and Asian business officials. Photo by Living Kalimanjira/Nyasa Times

The Director of Lilongwe Mechanical Development Limited (LMD) pledged the business people’s “unreserved” support and commitment in ensuring that the Banda administration succeeds in improving the people’s livelihood through a vibrant social, economic and political environment.

He expressed optimism that the President was bound to succeed owing to having a “highly intellectual husband in retired Chief Justice Richard Banda”, whom he said would always impart valuable advice to the Head of State.

“He is a man of high integrity; he is revered both locally and internationally,” said Mussa of the First Gentleman, adding that President Banda herself has a reputable track record as rights campaigner for the vulnerable, women and youth, which makes her the “preferable national leader”.

“Most of the members of the group who visited the President and who had not met her before were perplexed by the humility that she demonstrated at the Lilongwe State Lodge.

“She made us feel at home,” observed Mussa, who was accompanied on the visit by Mansoor Bhedha, Hussein Jakhura and Pramod Kalaria, among others during that audience with Madame Banda.

According to Mussa, the Asian business leaders requested the President to seriously look into their security concerns, particularly where Asian women have been targets of attack by bandits. She is reported to have agreed to do that, according to Mussa.

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