I formed NABW not Bingu –Joyce Banda

By Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times

Malawi’s vice president Joyce Banda has trashed claims by President Bingu wa Mutharika and has said she and not the President, established the National Association of Business Women (NABW), a grassroots organisation that distributes soft loans to small-scale businesswomen.

Mutharika claimed in May this year at a public rally in Lilongwe that he is the bona fide originator of NABW.

But speaking on Malawi’s popular radio interview programme, Straight Talk with Brian Banda aired on Capital FM on Thursday, Banda said she founded NABW with several women including late Mary Kaphwereza Banda and that Mutharika was not in the picture.

Banda: Originator of NABW

“Nabw was born 1989. Malawians know who formed NABW,” said Banda, saying  Mutharika by that time working in Ethiopia.

She explained that when Mutharika was secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), he created what is called the Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Eastern and Southern Africa (Femcom). Femcom culminated into the formation of Femcom chapters in Eastern and Southern African countries.

“When he formed what is called [Femcom]  which is a women’s wing of Comesa, NABW  was four years old,” said Banda.

On the slurs by First Lady Callista Mutharika that “You distribute little money here and there for village women to sell [mandasi] fritters or doughnuts and you think you can become president?”, Banda said she was not ashamed to be associated with Mandasi sellers.

“I am a mandasi woman, and I am a supporter of all mandasi women, all market women in Malawi, and all  tomato women in the country and that is my constituency,” she said.

During the interview, the vice president was asked to comment on the relationship with the First Lady, she declined to comment.

“That question I will not answer,” she said. “We have worked together in Hunger Project. She knows that my passion is with mandasi women.”

Banda, a co-laureate of the 1997, Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger, said she believes that economic empowerment is the key to development.

The Vice president said she will remain a social activist.

Banda also s disclosed she has a Bachelor of social science degree’ majoring in gender and development.

She enrolled to study a Masters degree in leadership with the Loyal Roads University in Canada and did a dissertation on “situation of marketing women.”

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