Former president Joyce Banda says is determined to contest in presidential elections due May 21 2019, saying it was an honour to be Malawi’s first female President and the first in the Southern Africa region as well as the second in Africa, promising a “phase two” of development if she is voted back in power.
Addressing a political rally in Bembeke Demonstration Primary School in Dedza, Banda, who reigned from 2012 to 2014, said her People’s Party (PP) is committed to doing all that it can to empower and develop Malawians when it forms the next government.
She said Malawians are currently suffering under the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) reign and need a bail out with good leadership.
“People in the country are facing food shortage and some of these problems are coming because the chiefs are getting very few coupons [for subsidised fertiliser]. And PP led government is the onky solution capable one nding hunger in the country since we managed to contsain food insecurity in 2012 while in power,” she said.
She said once voted in power in 2019, smallholder farmers will be given two bags of fertiliser each growing season which they will be required to repay back after harvesting.
“We also need to encourage young farmers who are energetic so that the country can have enough food,” she said.
Banda ascended to the presidency on April 7 2012 in line with constitutional order after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika. Up to that point, Banda was Bingu’s estranged vice-president who was expelled from DPP in December 2010.
During her tenure, Banda made some good strides such as increasing fuel availability from zero to 15 days, promoting business and investment and healed broken relationships with foreign donors and other countries.
Among the successes of her two-year presidency, Banda registered increased economic growth from 1.8 percent in 2012 to six percent in 2014, increased foreign exchange reserves and import cover from one week in April 2012 to three months and increased electricity generation through the addition of 64 megawatts following the commissioning of Kapichira Phase II Project.
In her address in Dedza, Banda said she is disheartened with frequent power outages that the country is currently experiencing resulting into many Malawians indulging themselves in natural resources destruction.
Banda, who championed safe motherhood projects through a presidential initiative, is also lauded for the reduction of maternal mortality from 675 to 460 deaths per 100 000 live births.
And Senior Village Group Chinyamu speaking on behalf of Traditional Authroity (T/A) Kamenyagwaza said Malawi needs a “trusted leader” like Banda in power.
“We all can testify here that what you did was very commendable job,” he said.
In the 2014 Tripartite Elections, Banda came third behind Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera and left the country immediately after Mutharika was sworn in May 2014.
Banda’s tenure was dented by a multimillion-pound “Cashgate” corruption scandal which she partly inherited from the previous DPP government but she took courage to ask the British government to fund a forensic audit, made publicly available online, that revealed K13 billion kwacha was stolen in three months during her administration and civil servants, businessmen and politicians were put on trial accused of exploiting a loophole in the government’s payment system to divert millions into their own pockets.
She also launched an investigation into DPP’s last three years in power that uncovered the theft of a staggering K92 billion but up to now there has been inaction on the “grand corruption” bu the current administration.
The former president says she was warned that a crusade against corruption would ruffle feathers and make enemies, but she was determined to stay the course.
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