Banda courts PP top brass, calls for dedication

President Joyce Banda on Tuesday hosted a luncheon at her official Lilongwe State Lodge for her governing People’s Party (PP) national executive committee members, calling on them to re-dedicate themselves to strengthening the party from the grassroots and at all levels.

“I wish to encourage you to work even harder after the PP attained its new status as the ruling party because the 2014 general elections will be a litmus test for the party and that the people of Malawi shall judge the party by its policies, conduct of its leaders and what its government would deliver in the next two years,” the President said, adding her ascendancy to power and that of her PP is “an interview, which we must pass at all cost”.

President Banda acknowledged the fact that the PP had not gone through any national elections. She said it was therefore imperative that leaders of the party do not relax at attaining the governing status, but strengthen it through formulating, pursuing deliberate policies and strategies that would win people’s hearts at all levels.

Orange dance: Vice President Khumbo Kachale and President Banda

“I, as President of the country, have an enormous and challenging task to correct the bad economic situation that the country found itself in. I am optimistic that we will succeed to improve the people’s livelihood through the attainment of a desirable political, social and economic order; and succeed we will.

“But I want to tell you that we can only achieve this when we, as PP, have a strong political base. I challenge you, as leaders, to create that base through keeping constant touch with the people and establishing what their life aspirations are,” said the first female President in Malawi and Southern Africa and the second in Africa after Liberia’s Ellen Sirleaf Johnson.

The President said she was fully committed to supporting all PP’s leaders and structures, reiterating that she would not abandon “all those that started this difficult journey” with her, “come rain, come sunshine”.

The Head of State then advised the party’s leaders to welcome members of other parties that “genuinely” wish to join the governing party, saying PP’s doors must “always be kept wide open for such genuine defectors” and not “mere opportunists”.

The President thanked “the Almighty God” for her ascendancy and that of the PP to power.

“I shall always praise the Lord for His incomparable prowess; the prowess that has made us all to be where we’re today,” she said.

State Vice President Khumbo Kachali applauded the Head of State for her “irreplaceable” leadership that had culminated into genuine unity among the top leadership of the party as well as the rank and file members at all levels.

“The leaders that are here this afternoon have requested me to express their heartfelt gratitude for inviting them to the State Lodge to have lunch with them despite your busy schedule as Head of State. They wish this may happen often,” said Kachali, who is also PP’s Vice President.

Some individuals at the luncheon included the First Gentleman and retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, PP secretary-general Henry Chibwana, treasurer general, Brown Mpinganjira, director of women Clara Makungwa, Provincial Governor for the Centre  Kizito Ngwembe, Youth Director Lawrence Mpofu, Provincial Governors for Eastern Region and Southern Region, Samson Msosa and Ali M’balaka, respectively, Publicity Secretary Stephen Mwenye and his deput  Ken Msonda, among others.

Reverend Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri opened the function with a prayer while Reverend Malani Mtonga closed it with a prayer. National Organizing Secretary, Salim Bagus was Director of Ceremony.

President Banda and First Gentleman at the luncheon
PP secretary general Henry Chibwana speaking at the luncheon
Party leaders
Clara Makungwa and PP women erupt in dances
Joseph Chikwemba and others

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