JB urges Malawians in UK to play part in development

Malawi’s President Joyce Banda says  Malawians in the United Kingdom (UK) have a significant role to play in the development of the new Malawi by contributing effectively through various avenues in the social and economic growth.

The Malawian leader made the appeal on Thursday at Claridges Hotel in Mayfair, London when she addressed an assemblage of Malawians living in the UK to discuss among other things her government’s policies.

“Malawians in the diaspora, not only in the United Kingdom but all over of the globe,  have a critical role to play in our country’s economic growth. I urge you to commit yourselves in helping in the progress of our country. We need your help. We need your input so that together we fight poverty,” said Banda.

Malawians in UK throngs Banda: Picture credit- Peter Makossah/Nyasa Times

President Banda emphasized that her government is committed to poverty eradication saying that her administration has put in place strategies that will stabilise Malawi’s economy through sustainable and austerity measures.

She said: “My mission is poverty eradication not to reduce it – but to end it. Period.”

The Malawian head of state assured diaspora Malawians that her government is poised to unlock the potential of the Malawian people to regain their freedom, dignity and sense of pride and thereby giving Malawi to realise its full potential, political and economic freedom.

“My government is poised to drive a people’s development agenda that will enhance opportunities, reduces inequalities and eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation. Malawi seeks to develop a conducive environment for foreign investment,” said President Banda.

The Malawian leader told the gathering that her government is also formulating better health reforms particularly on maternal health saying is disheartening that more women are dying in childbirth complications.

“It is sad that a woman must lose a life in giving a life,” she said. “That must not happen. No woman must lose a life when giving a new life. Giving birth must be a celebratory event and not something to worry about.”

Expertise

President Banda challenged diaspora Malawians to come forth with their expertise in various fields in a quest to contribute to the country’s progress and nation buIlding saying she believes that many Malawians living abroad have the capacity to help in development of the country.

“I call upon all of you to come and help your government in whatever capacity you can. Help us find investors to come to Malawi and invest so we can create a better environment for all Malawians back home,” said Banda.

She said the main thrust of her government’s commitment is to exterminate poverty of the Malawian people through economic growth adding that that can be possible if all Malawians including those in the diaspora take a responsibility in participating in the country’s economic growth.

“I believe that all of you have something to offer to your government’s progress and you can come forward with your expertise in various fields our country will benefit from your talents and skills,” said President Banda.

The President said realising how important diaspora Malawians can contribute to the Malawi’s success she has established an office within the ministry of foreign affairs to specifically deal with diaspora Malawians.

Rapport

President Banda told the meeting that since ascending to power she has been working hard to restore sour diplomatic relationships with neighbouring countries, bilateral donors and the international community at large saying Malawi cannot afford to detach itself from its neighbours and development partners.

“I have been building a rapport with our neighbours, donors and the international community as we now live in a global village and we need our partners. I would like to tell you that Malawi and Britain have normalised their relationship.”

“Great Britain will soon be sending an envoy to Malawi and my government’s envoy will in a little while be in London as I have just been informed that Parliament has confirmed the Malawi Ambassador to the UK , Bernard Sande. It was sad that the previous regime had to chase a British diplomat for telling the truth of what was happening in Malawi,” said President Banda.

She also disclosed that Malawi and Mozambique have restored their diplomatic ties saying she has had a meeting with President Guebuza who have agreed to help Malawi in rehabilitating the rail line to Mozambique.

President Banda also informed  that Zambia and Malawi are now in good books again.

“If you live in Kawale, you cannot afford to make enemies with all your neighbours for in one way or another you will need them…”Munthu wamtundu wanji woyambana ndi aliyese?” (What kind of a person is one who fights with all his neighbours?”  asked the president.

“When our president [Bingu wa Mutharika] died and we were rocked with fuel problems it was Zambian president Michael Sata who came to out rescue by giving us free fuel yet this is the man our country locked up in prison for no reason,” she said.

Embassies

But the President warned Malawian embassy staff in London and all Malawi foreign mission officers to open up to all Malawians and never to politicise it.

“Embassies are not political party offices. Those working in the foreign mission must serve all Malawians regardless of their political affiliation,” She warned.

Speaking earlier, Foreign affairs minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume said he has directed that Malawians in the UK are free to go the Malawian Embassy without barriers.

“It is your embassy, therefore you are free to go there and get any assistance that you may need. I pledge my support and if you can get what you want the embassy you’ are free to contact me directly and I would be glad to help,” said the minister giving his number and email address to the gathering.

But Malawi Embassy’s charge de affairs James Ali asked Malawians in the UK to accept and work with President Banda’s government vision in order to move the country forward.

Hope

In her remarks, Malawi Association UK deputy chairperson, Gertrude Chirambo thanked the President for sparing her time besides her busy official schedules to meet Malawians to discuss various development issues.

“Malawians in the UK are happy and so proud that despite having a tight schedule you still gave us an audience. We are so humbled and honoured. We look up to you as a beacon of hope and that Malawi will soon be a better place. We are happy that in a space of only two months, you have managed to restore the relationship with the UK.”

She added: “You are a role model not only to Malawian women but to Africa and the rest of the world for you inspires more women and girls. We are so proud of you.”

President Banda challenged Malawians  to play their role in poverty eradication by asking them to either adopt or sponsor a child in Malawi as a way to engage themselves in the fight against poverty eradication.

“If each one of us can adopt a child to support in Malawi, we can make a change to the fight against poverty. We must all hope that things will better and we must always give hope to those in need especially the children,” she urged.

Part of the audience

Malawians listening to President Banda

Malawians in the meeting room with President Banda

President Banda addressing Malawians in UK

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