Malawi’s immediate past former president Joyce Banda, who is People’s Party (PP)torchbearer in next year’s e;ections, told a political rally at Mziza school ground in Kasungu district on Wednesday that if elected as president in next year’s election, she will have the willpower to fight poverty, accusing the current Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration of being “woefully” out of touch with economic reality for people living in poverty .
Banda said serving the less-privileged was her “calling” hence seeking to return to power in what she is calling ‘Phase 2’ of PP .
The former president, 68, said she cannot sit in the comfort of her home, while many Malawians out there struggle to afford even one meal a day.
“ I know how painful and pathetic it is to live in a grass-thatched house. I will always dedicate my life to helping the underprivileged move out of poverty,” sadid Banda
Bandatold her jubilant supporters that while she was Head of State from 2012 to 2014, her government made many social and economic development strides, particularly in economic empowerment of the rural masses.
“During our time, we made sure that our rural farmers get better prices for their produce. We wooed back international tobacco buyers who had been deported by the previous regime. I personally negotiated with them to return and asked them to buy tobacco from our farmers at favourable prices. We did the same with other crops like peas,” said Banda, bemoaning that the status quo at present was pathetic because prices of farm produce have hit all time low.
Banda – only the second woman to lead a country in Africa – then announced that she would abolish the “selective” Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) and introduce universal fertilizer subsidy programme so that every farmer benefits and therefore improve security at both household and national levels.
The former president said she has already identified funding for the implementation of universal fertilizer subsidy programme.
She said when she will roll back “people-centred social and economic policies” in order to take Malawians out of abject poverty.
Banda said for example, she would fight for better prices for farm produce, including resuscitating ADMARC so that it returns to being a reliable ready market for rural small-scale farmers.
“I will put a stop to the current frequent power cuts end in order to promote the manufacturing industry, thereby creating employment for the youths,” said Banda.
She also pledged to improve the health and education sectors, saying she would ensure that teachers and health workers work in better conditions and that conducive learning and teaching environment is created in all education institutions at all levels.
The PP leader said education is an indispensable tool for the achievement of meaningful socio-economic development of any nation and hence her government shall give education special attention.
Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections on 21 May 2019.
Banda founded the People’s Party (PP) in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by President Peter Mutharika.
She came to power in 2012 when Bingu wa Mutharika, the current president’s brother, died in office.
Recently, President Peter Mutharika said his late brother Bingu told him he regretted picking Banda as her running mate.
But PP secretary general Ibrahim Matola said Banda is a flag carrier and a true ambassador of 50-50 campaign for women leadership being championed by civil society organizations and all other relevant stakeholders in the electoral matters.
Her downfall from power in 2014 elections came in part from the so-called “Cashgate” scandal, the biggest financial misconduct in the country’s history.
Banda says she did nothing wrong and that the allegations against her are politically motivated.
After she returned to the country in April, police said an arrest warrant against her was valid, but up to now she has been neither charged nor arrested.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :