Joyce Banda wants leadership contest at PP convention

State vice president and leader of the newly launched People’s Party (PP) Joyce Banda (JB) has hinted that the party will hold a national convention within one year of its official launch where all executive committee positions, including that of president, shall be up for contest.

Disclosing this at a news conference held at her official Mudi Residence in Blantyre on Sunday, Banda said that during the PP executive committee meeting of August 5, 2011, it was resolved that the party holds its national convention within one year and that from now until that time, the PP will concentrate on mobilizing membership; deepening internal democratic processes and systems; and giving opportunity for the people to identify and nominate their leadership.

Put to her that there is a ‘founder syndrome’ in Malawi where founders have undue advantage over challengers, the VP said she would ensure that a truly democratic process takes root ahead of the national convention and should people decide to elect another person as a leader she would accept that decision.

People's Party plan convention in a year with leadership contest. Picture taken at the launch in Blantyre> Photo: Lusubilo Sichali/Nyasa Times

“My background says it all; I established NABW and mobilized about 50, 000 members but when time came that I felt I needed to share leadership to the extent that even the members of the board could not believe it. It is only proper to share leadership with someone particularly those that are younger, brilliant and innovative,” Banda told journalists.

The first woman vice president in Malawi said if it were not for her unceremonious expulsion from the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of president Bingu wa Mutharika in December last year, she would have still been a member of that party.

Banda  said if the people voted for another person other than herself as leader, she would not leave the party but support such a leader.

The Vice President  was apparently expelled from the DPP for refusing to endorse the imposition of the president’s young brother, Professor Peter Mutharika, as DPP’s presidential candidate in the next national polls in 2014.

On the prevailing state of affairs in the country, Banda told members of the media that as it has been witnessed, the first term of the DPP (2004-2009), government performed “very well” and Malawians rewarded the party with a majority vote for both presidential and parliamentary elections in May 2009.

“But as we are all aware, the country is now facing serious political and economic problems due to administrative and policy failures,” Banda said.

She explained that her PP believes that resolving issues of bad governance, disrespect for human rights, including lack of academic and media freedoms, disrespect for the independence of the Judiciary and the legislature, enactment of bad laws and problematic relationship with donors and development partners are matters of executive action.

“The PP therefore wishes to reiterate its call upon government to act in the interest of Malawians and the country at large by quickly taking action to address these challenges.

“In the short term, PP believes that the country needs urgent support for its balance of payment; the government needs to review its fiscal and monetary policies in order to support investment and job creation; and there is need for political will among the leadership to cultivate space for negotiation and consensus building on public policy in order to reverse the damage that has been created,” said the PP leader.

Banda pledged that PP is “ready and willing” to support a credible process that would reclaim Malawi’s good standing with development partners and the private sector.

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