Joyce Banda pays homage to Chasowa, congratulates Sata

Malawi’s vice president Joyce Banda on Saturday paid homage to the late Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student and political activist who was found dead under suspicious circumstances within the Polytechnic campus on September 24, 2011.

Chasowa was the vice-chair of a student activist group, Youth for Democracy (YFD). The YFD printed a weekly pro-democracy and anti-Bingu wa Mutharika administration newsletter called the Weekly Political Update.

Speaking when she officially launched her People’s Party (PP) at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe, Banda bemoaned the “suspicious circumstances” in which Chasowa died. He is believed to have been murdered by regime thugs.

Joyce Banda addressing a rally at Masintha ground in Lilongwe: Photo: Lusubilo Sichali/Nyasa Times

“May I request each one of us to stand and observe two minutes of silence in honour of the fallen hero,” the PP president told thousands of supporters in a solemn tone.

Banda told the gathering that she wept when she heard the whole episode surrounding the death of Chasowa, 25, upon her return on Thursday from the United States of America.

“As a mother, I was indeed saddened; I can’t just imagine how my fellow mother felt when she heard about her son’s sadden death,” said the state vice president, fondly referred to as JB by her adorers.

Banda then said she wanted to congratulate the newly-elected Zambia president Michael ‘King Cobra’ Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) for his historic triumph against the incumbent Rupiah Bwezani Banda of Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

He thanked the new Zambian leader for the warm reception he accorded to the PP representative, Paul Maulidi, at his inauguration on September 23, 2011 when he sent him an ‘official’ car to collect him on arrival.

“Actually, Mr. Maulidi (PP director for legal affairs) was accorded an audience by His Excellency Sata at the State House when others were turned back,” JB said, apparently in reference President Mutharika’s failure to attend the inauguration after having flown to Lusaka on that Friday.

The PP leader then set out to outline her party’s vision of emancipating Malawians from abject poverty through economic empowerment. She noted, however, that economic prosperity will only be achieved only when Malawians gain genuine political freedom.

“This is why I always insist that I will not tire to point out any such ills perpetrated by those in power, which adversely affect the people of Malawi politically, socially and economically. It is the constitutional duty that you bestowed upon me when you elected me vice president of this nation.
“On my inauguration, I swore to uphold and preserve the Republican Constitution and that entails making sure that the Bill of Rights as enshrined in the constitution is respected through government’s provision of people’s life necessities,” she said, citing the provision of adequate medical drugs, food, potable water and payment of civil servants’ salaries on time.

Banda disclosed she had met a United Nations delegation at her official residence on Friday, which briefed him on the resumption of dialogue between the presidential contact group and civil society representatives to bring about social, economic and political order into the country.

While she hailed the new development, the state vice president called on the Mutharika administration not to lose focus addressing critical issues of shortage of fuel, foreign exchange money and essential medical supplies in public hospitals as the problems persist in the country.

At the meeting other officials who spoke included PP vice president and Mzimba legislator Khumbo Kachali, PP secretary general Henry Chibwana, national campaign director Phillipo Ngopi, PP national director for youth, Lawrence Mpofu and national director for women Clara Makungwa, PP provincial governor for the central region, Kizito Ngwembe, all urging Malawians to vote for Banda and the PP in 2014 to replace the “repressive regime”.

The PP president was flanked at the occasion by her husband, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda and other senior party members who included administrative secretary Reverend Peter Kaleso, publicity secretary Stephen Mwenye, director of religious affairs Reverend Malani Mtonga, director of strategic planning Clement Stambuli and Reverend Emmanuel Chimkwita Phiri, among others.

Crowds at People's Party launch in Lilongwe. Photo: Lusubilo Sichali/Nyasa Times

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