As competition for State House in Malawi, ahead of the 2019, gets stiffer and much exciting, immediate past former president and leader of People’s Party (PP) Joyce Banda, 68 says Malawians should not look at the age of aspirants but their track-record when choosing their next leader.
“I have listened with keen interest the ongoing age debate. My personal view is that age matters less. What is paramount is what an individual has achieved while in various leadership positions.
“For example, I was President for two years between 2012 and 2014; Malawians should be able to judge me based on what I was able to achieve and what I failed and not how old I am,” said ‘JB’, as she is popularly refereed to among her supporters.
Banda, Malawi’s first female Vice President in 2009 and President in 2012 addressed a political rally at Sambalalendo School Ground in Zomba Thondwe constituency on Friday, August 3, 2018.
She called upon her supporters to register as voters when time comes so that they can decide what sort of future they want to have in 2019.
“Your future and your destiny lie in your own hands. You can listen to all political rhetoric by us, politicians, but you should be able to make the right decision based on the achievements of individual politicians and their respective political parties,” she said.
Banda said Malawians should not lose their willpower to remember the many people-centred policies that her PP administration pursued between 2012 and 2014, including a housing scheme under which she championed the provision of low-cost houses to the underprivileged, farm input subsidy programme, and improved work conditions for civil servants, notably public teachers who were hitherto mistreated when it came to payment of emoluments.
“We paid our respected traditional chiefs well and on time. Through the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health, we saved many lives of our pregnant women. We reduced maternal mortality from 675 per 100, 000 live births to 460 within 24 months,” she said.
Banda also enthused power supply had tremendously improved under her PP administration and blackouts became history.
“It is not a secret that when we came in 2012, there was no forex, which resulted in the scarcity of fuel, electricity and water. Malawi was going through economic tumultuous times,” she recalled.
She said her government introduced various corrective reforms to steer the country in the right socio-economic development direction, including implementing a comprehensive Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) to resuscitate crucial sectors of the economy such as mining, agriculture, energy and tourism, among others.
Banda said the economy rapidly grew from 1.8 percent to 6.3 percent.
“In a short time, our country achieved tremendous strides in micro and macro economy, good governance, rule of law and human rights, press freedom, women’s empowerment, international relations, manufacturing industry, tobacco production and favourable prices, safety and security, among others.
“I urge you to critically look at our performance during those two years and vote wisely come 2019,” she said.
Other high-profile speakers at the meeting included PP vice presidents for central and northern regions, Beatrice Mwale and Kamlepo Kalua, respectively, and the party’s secretary general, Ibrahim Matola. They all hailed JB as the only “tried and tested” among the presidential contestants and that the people of Zomba and Malawi must give her another chance to complete her “mission”.
Matola confirmed that the party would be holding a national convention in Blantyre from August 30 “where delegates shall give Banda mandate to represent the party at the presidential polls”, among other things.
Banda founded the PP in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by President Peter Mutharika.
She was Malawi’s first female president, serving from April 2012 to May 2014.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :