JB’s ‘Straight Talk’ receives positive reactions

By Lusubilo Sichali, Nyasa Times 

An hour long ‘Straight Talk’ interview on Capital Radio on Thursday evening that featured state vice president Joyce Banda has been described as “enthralling” by an ardent follower of the programme and Blantyre-based civil rights activist, Living Kalimanjira.

Christening the host of the programme Brian Banda “Malawi’s Tim Sebastian” Kalimanjira told Nyasa Times in an interview that he now has “genuine respect” for the VP, saying she displayed high level of intellect and judgement during the famous programme. Tim Sebastian is the Chairman of the Doha Debates, a forum for free speech in Qatar, and was hitherto presenter of BBC’s HARDtalk. He was renowned for his tough and probing questions, a skilful and rigorous interviewer.

“I was never hundred percent sure about her capabilities particularly her communication skills. I now understand why she received positive reviews in the American press when she recently presented lectures at two universities including the famous Harvard University. It was obvious from the way she responded to questions that a combination of high levels intellect, experience and humility were at play,” Kalimanjira said.

VP Joyce Banda:Using a walking stick when she had an interview on Straight Talk

On humility, the activist observed that Joyce Banda avoided making disparaging remarks against her boss, president Bingu wa Mutharika, but instead she said she respected the president. If anything, the vice president only expressed disappointment with him (Mutharika) for deceiving her that he would hand over power to her when he retires in 2014.

During the interview, the VP expressed disappointment that only a few months into office, the president started promoting his younger brother professor Peter Mutharika using state-owned radio and television, MBC and launched a vicious smear campaign against her through the same media, party functionaries and traditional chiefs.

Chairman of the faith-based non-governmental organization, Clergy Initiative for Integral Development (CIDE for CIDE, Reverend Father Michael Mtambo told Nyasa Times in a telephone interview from Balaka on Friday that the vice president’s interview was an “eye opener” never knew of.

He cited the scenario before the 2009 elections where Mutharika had requested his would-be running mate (Banda) to ask her husband, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda to return to Malawi from Swaziland where he was also working as Chief Justice so he could bless the move.

“We also learnt about how hypocritical the president is; deceiving a woman that all well be well and that come 2014, he would give her the mantle of leadership. Mutharika seems to bear no remorse at all especially when you consider how he also harasses his own mentor and former Head of State Dr. Bakili Muluzi; the way he treated his first vice president between 2004 and 2009 Dr. Cassim Chilumpha and virtually everyone who has helped him through. At party level, he hires and fires willy-nilly,” Father Mtambo observed.

A dry fish vendor in Limbe Central Market, William Matenje also heaped praises on Banda, who is also leader of the newly registered People’s Party, saying “she sounded a genuine leader with a demonstrated understanding of what she was talking about”.

“I particularly amused about the nice thing she talked about the husband; that he is her legal advisor and I was moved when she revealed that once in a while she goes to lecture at her Joyce Banda Foundation where she tells students that everyday is for learning,” Matenje, a keen follower of current events said.

And on a lighter note, a University student said she was impressed with Joyce Banda in the way she said she developed a sense of her own dressing in an African woman and a signature wrapper on her shoulder dubbed “Chi Joyce Banda.”

“I love the way she talked. Her dressing style and of course Chi Joyce Banda,” said the student who identified herself as Maureen.

During the interview, Brian Banda, asked the Vice President why she was using a walking stick. She humbly said she had fallen down at Mudi State House  and downplayed the injury as not serious.

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