Banda spell her vision to Malawians in US

Malawi envoy to US (R) Steve Matenje

President Mrs Joyce Banda met Malawians in Washington DC on the start of her official visit to United States sharing with them her vision and  informing  that her administration has established a Malawi Diaspora office in Ministry of Foreign Affairs “to harness talents of Malawians living abroad.”

Banda told the Malawian community that she has drawn up an economic strategy to “establish an economic recovery programme to deal with current challenges of economic governance and help stabilise the economy.”

She said this includes developing a more diversified and productive economic model which will reinstate traditional drivers of growth that could generate foreign exchange.

President Banda addressing Malawians in US

The President also retaliated that  her cash-strapped government will sell the  $13.3million presidential jet controversially bought by her predecessor late Bingu wa Mutharika.

She said the decision was in line with her vision for “economic recovery.”

President Banda emphasized that her government is committed to poverty eradication .

“ My main vision and mission as President is not to reduce poverty in Malawi but to eradicate it,” she said.

The meeting held on Saturday June 9 drew  over 300 Malawians from Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia states. A few others came from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Michigan and Indiana.

Jomo Nkunika, a Malawian based in New York opened the meeting with the word of prayer and later drew up this conclusion: “The President has the charisma, the passion, the jokes, and above all that good vision for Malawi.”

Eddie Naming’ona, president of Malawi Washington (MWA) Association gave a speech to welcome the President and there was a briefing by Ms. Thokozani Kadzamira on Malawi Women’s Association work in Malawi.

Naming’ona said Malawians in the Diaspora have welcomed the recent creation of the Malawian Diaspora Office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“For decades, most of us didn’t have a venue where we could contribute ideas and know that they will be heard,” said Naming’ona .

He also advanced the call to have  Dual Citizenship .

As the public was given a chance to ask the President, one important question was on the need for Malawi to change the logistics towards registration of non- profit organizations. It was noted that in other cases it has taken  two or more years to get approval to operate these charitable organizations, especially those that get aid from western countries.

The President indicated that there already has been improvement in that area and that she personally will insure that such processes get speed it up.

Mrs Banda also tackled the issue of homosexuality, saying she will never influence the lawmakers on repealing the law that criminalises unnatural acts, saying they should ask what the electorate say and make a decision.

“ I hope the international community will respect that. I am glad that I have opened up this debate. This is healthy for democracy,” said Banda.

Naming’ona asked President Banda what will do differently, saying the past leaders made similar promises but it turned out otherwise.

She answered: “They were not women.”

While in US, President Banda will attend a conference on development, democracy and security.

At the conference, the Malawi leader will be joined by four other female world leaders that include Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Kosovo Madame Atifete Jahjaga, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and former Prime Minister of New Zealand who is also United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clarke.

She will also hold talks with the Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde, Vice President of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and other high ranking officials from the World Bank and United States AID (USAID).

Part of the crowd of Malawians in US who came to meet President Banda. Photo courtesy by Mwiza C K Munthali
Malawi envoy to US (R) Steve Matenje.Photo courtesy by Mwiza C K Munthali
Malawians after meeting President Banda.Photo courtesy by Mwiza C K Munthali
Eddie speaking at the function.Photo courtesy by Mwiza C K Munthali

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