Malawi leader defiant: ‘I will keep on globe-trotting’

President Mrs. Joyce Banda has said Malawians in town have malice and jealousy, and come to trouble people in villages. She said the greedy rich distort issue about good people like her Peoples Party (PP) by-elections candidate Raymond Chatima Nkhata, for their selfish benefits. She was speaking at Edingeni school in Mzimba district.

She also said critics that are against her taking chiefs to her recent United Nations (UN) assembly visit in New York to stop making noise.

“About 85% of Malawians are the poor people who are living with chiefs in villages. The well to do constitute about only 10% of the Malawi population. I cannot continue to talk of the poor from a distance. Days are gone when we should be talking on behalf of the poor when they also have a voice and can be heard. Doing so is foolishness (Umbuli zinasintha),” she said.

President Banda: I will keep taking chiefs in my foreign trips

Banda added she created two committees – the safe-motherhood and poverty reduction committees whose composition includes chiefs.

“I have to get the chiefs to air their views on behalf of their poor people before our prospective donors such as president Bill Clinton and others. Whether one likes it or not, chiefs, women and the youth will travel.

” I will also continue to get my friends on trips abroad on my personal expenses. I started this long time ago when I was only forty years old when I took about 30 women to America. I also took 18 women, six funded by former president Bakili Muluzi, to New York for a three weeks visit,” she challenged.

Banda, clad in party colours, said she believed in what founding president of Malawi the late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda believed in. That kuyenda ndi sukulu (travel is school/education).

“At 62 years old I cannot fail to buy a ticket for a woman to anywhere in the world. It is my life to promote women and their affairs.”

She also said that the people of the North are Malawians too and that she was a president for all, the East, South, North and Centre, and that is why she chose Khumbo Kachale a vice-president.

Economy

President Banda told the gathering at Edingeni, where she was officially closing her party’s campaign for the by-elections to take place on 9th October next week that she came into government find a messed up economy.

“We got into government and found mud, nothing else. It is funny for one to stand and say my government has messed up Malawi’s economy. Fisi anakana mtsatsi“, she said, adding: “I pray to God and ask why he put me here to work this mess up. For instance, someone I appointed a chairperson of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) called me to say where would he start from as the agency is in a mess.”

The NRFA was forced by the previous government to borrow MWK1 million and that money cannot be accounted for. The banks have their eyes on the agency to repay back and yet that money is nowhere to be traced, saying former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) know what happened to the money and they should be held accountable.

“The amount is K1.5 billion which NFRA borrowed but it cannot be traced. I have told him to tell Malawians what he found out and go for those who take Malawians for granted,” said Banda.

Devaluation

Banda also said there was no other way but to go ahead and devalue the Malawi Kwacha so as to bring back investors, bilateral friends, and mitigate forex and fuel problems.

“Devaluation has benefited tobacco farming greatly, though am sad that many of us have not grown tobacco this year around. Note that I am only finalising someone’s term. I did not mess up the economy. I have to go to USA and attend the European Union (EU) meetings so that we get the economy back on track. People are willing to assist us and we must travel to woo them. We should look ahead as Malawians, we should unite a Malawians and we should look at our strategies as Peoples Party to develop,” she said.

The president highlighted five sectors as a priority – energy, mining, tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.

Ululations

Before Banda spoke, the party meeting started with Senior Chief Inkosi Mtwalo who spoke on behalf of Inkosi ya Makosi M’Mbelwa the Fourth who was absent. He thanked Banda for visiting graveyards of second and third Inkosi’s and committed that all chiefs in the area fully support PP candidate Nkhata.

“Chiefs work with the government of the day. We want to make sure Nkhata continues with Vice President Khumbo Kachali’s work,” he emphasized, also announcing that Kachali had given dende (relish) to the president in form of a head of cattle.

PP campaign leader Frank Mwenefumbo said the campaign was a peaceful door-to-door campaign and asked the people to vote for PP on 9th October as a thank you for Kachali’s position.

“For the first time in the history of Malawi, a Northerner ha risen to such a high position,” he said.

Taking his turn, secretary general for the party, Dr. Henry Chibwana called JB ‘President wosalala‘ (smooth president).

“Even the white people knelt to greet her during her visit in New York. Malawians should be proud of such a great leader. We therefore know Nkhata is the automatic winner.” he praised.

Malawi and PP Vice President Khumbo Kachali said Edingeni was a place has history.

“This is where politic ends. This is the constituency that has always stood by you, for better or for worse. The people here told me to be with JB when she first formed PP. Though others said I shouldn’t have been behind a woman, but my people here advised to stick with you. You opened my campaign in 2009 for MP and I won. You told these people to vote for me. You also came to Engalaweni and we supported you all the way when you were been persecuted,” he said.

He then introduced new comer Norman Nyirenda and another defector from the Alliance for Democracy (Aford).

Banda who arrived slightly past 2pm in the Mzimba South West constituency called on the people to remember that their candidate was Nkhata and must vote for him. She also gave chiefs gifts and MWK100,000. The four PP zones MK100,000.

Ingoma performers, youth morale and constituency women were also given MWK100,000 each as well. Gule Wamkulu and Chisamba dancers were also given MWK100,000 each.

The by-elections come after the constituency fell vacant following Banda’s appointment of Kachali a national VP. The Malawi Constitution says a president and the vice president cannot double a a  Member of Parliament.

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