Malawi Pres. Joyce Banda’s BBC Focus on Africa interview: Transcript

Joyce Banda (JB), who made history becoming Malawi’s first female president and only the second woman to lead a country in Africa, marks her first anniversary as Head of State on April 7. She had an interview with BBC’s Komla Dumor on Focus on Africa and says ‘let Malawians judge me’

Full transcript:

BBC—Madam President, who is in charge of Malawi?

JB—The Malawians are taking decisions about their own destiny. What has happened is that in order for our donors to come back, we needed IMF [International Monetary Fund] to give us the letter of comfort. But we…

BBC—But who ultimately calls the shots, madam President?

JB—Malawi, of course…

BBC— Iisn’t it the IMF calling the shots…isn’t it the country director saying if you don’t devalue your currency you not gonna get the loans? If you don’t make decisions about opening your markets, we not gonna give you the money?

Pres. Banda: Let Malawians judge me
Pres. Banda: Let Malawians judge me

JB—I want you to tell me how economies under the IMF programme have operated, and have worked with the IMF. Tell me how they have done that? In order for you to be back on track, don’t you go on the conditions of the IMF? Haven’t countries done that?

BBC—If you could give yourself a grade for one year in office, what would that grade be?

JB—No, Malawians must give me that grade…

BBC—And what do you think they would give you?

JB—No, I don’t want to think. What I want you to know is that I want Malawians to look back, at least where we were. Did we have fuel or not?

BBC—What do you think Malawians make of your leadership now?

JB—No, I conduct my surveys all the time, so I don’t know where…I know where they are placing me.

BBC—And where do they place you?

JB—No, no no no no, that is not something that I can…

BBC—Where do you they place you, madam president? Give us a bit of insight into your research and the kind of feedback you are getting, a year on?

JB—The feedback that I am…the feedback that I am getting a year on are different from urban to rural. The rural people have faith and love for me.

BBC—President Banda, do you wake up some mornings and still think about the weights of responsibility of being the president of the nation? Do you take personal responsibility for the outcomes of the policies and the decisions that you make?

JB— Every single day. I have had to take bold decisions. They are not decisions that I just took carelessly, and I hope that you not are being chauvinistic…because…

BBC—In no way at all…

JB—Okay, fine. I wake up very aware of the huge responsibility that I have, to recover that economy. What I am seeing in Malawi, not from London office or the BBC office headquarters, but in the country, in Malawi is that, a lot of people are saying in the circumstances, she is doing the best she can and, therefore, the rest of us Malawians must stand by her.

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