JB says Gwengwe is not baby: ‘Youth leadership possible for Malawi’

Malawi President and leader of People’s Party (PP) Joyce Banda on Thursday evening formally  announced that Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe will be her running mate in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections, saying the 36-year-old vice president nominee is not  “baby” .

Banda who has sidelined State Vice President Khumbo Kachali, who is also is also first President of the ruling PP, justified her choice of marverick Gwengwe, saying he is “ready than other people you knew.”

President Banda and Gwengwe will submit their nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials Friday at the Comesa Hall in Blantyre.

Gwengwe being unveiled as JB's runningmate
Gwengwe being unveiled as JB’s runningmate

Speaking at a news conference at Hill Top Sanjika Palace in Malawi’s commercial capital Blantyre after Nyasa Times  were the first to break the news that it Banda-Gwengwe ticket, the Malawi leader  said she wants to encourage the youth to take the rightful leadership positions from political back-benches to the front row as part of capacity building to entrench economic and political posterity.

“As a nation we have made a decision that Malawi comes first. The decision to come up with my running mate was guided by such a philosophy,” said Banda before announcing that “I have chosen honourable Sosten Gwengwe as my running mate.”

Said Banda: “The youths are not leaders of tomorrow but today. We need to recognise the youth and work with them.”

“I also took time to consult and pray over this very important matter,” said Banda.

Banda expressed confidence in Gwengwe that he has the  expertise, experience, capacity and  drive to do what is expected as second in command in the government heiracy.

She dismissed critics of Gwengwe owing to his youth age, saying “some even said he is a baby” but that as the President she has  do doubts in him.

“I wish to thank Hon. Gwengwe for accepting to offer himself to serve his country in this capacity,” said the President.

On why she did not pick her deputy, Kachali, Banda said she had an agreement with the vice president to serve together for two years the remainder of late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s term.

“It was an agreement of two years and yesterday I thanked for the job that we have done together,” she said.

[highlight style=’pear-green’] Profile of Gwengwe [/highlight]

Gwengwe, born 20th May 1977, to Mr Alfred and Alice Gwengwe, hails from Kaphuka in Dedza. He holds an MBA and is a chartered accountant.

He is married to Enelles and is father of two.  He is Christian of Inter Pentecostal faith.

Gwengwe did his primary school in Lilongwe, his secondary school at Umbwi in Dedza, where he was selected to pursue a Bachelor of Accountancy Degree at the Polytechnic, University of Malawi. He graduated in 1999.

He obtained an MBA specializing in Finance from Oxford Brookes University, UK in 2003. He is a chartered and qualified management Accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Between 2005 and 2008, while in the UK, he taught at various colleges in London.

In 2008, he returned to Malawi and founded the Alice Gwengwe Foundation, a Girls Private Secondary School in Linthipe, Dedza and also managed the Dzuka Girls Secondary School in Nathenje Lilongwe.

He successfully campaigned for a parliamentary seat in Dedza Central, and was voted as a Member of Parliament in the 2009 General Elections.

In 2009, he was appointed Shadow Finance Minister for the Malawi Congress Party. He was the Finance Spokesperson in Parliament for the MCP. He has also served in the Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, and the International Relations Committee of Parliament and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA).

In April 2012, Gwengwe was appointed Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructure. In December 2012, he was appointed Minister of Industry and Trade, a position he serves to date.

Gwengwe has been a guest speaker at various international fora, including the Dubai- Africa Business Forum 2013, the UK- Malawi Investment Forum in London among many others.

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