People’s Party (PP) president Mrs. Joyce Banda, who is also Malawi’s first female Head of State, opened the party’s first ever convention, recognizing staunch supporters and in the process also de-campaigning party officials.
Banda, who spoke right after party and national vice president, Khumbo Kachale, said some people risked arrest by campaigning for her cause across Malawi.
“Mr. Samson Msosa and Lawrence Mpofu are two great foot-soldiers who stood by our cause throughout the country. At one point they travelled to Nsanje to start Friends of Joyce Banda but were warned against meeting Mia (Sidik) who would hurt them,” she narrated to the delegates and invited guests at the College of Medicine Complex, where the party is holding elections for office bearers, including for the presidency and its vice.
She then awarded the two for what she termed fearless sojourns for the PP cause.
“A deputy minister was warned would lose his position if he let the two travel to Blantyre. He called Chief Malemia to help him arrest and deal with the duo, not knowing the two ‘fugitives’ were in the chief’s vehicle, being given a lift after a minibus they were traveling in bloke down and they started walking,” she narrated.
She also highlighted the party will be writing a ‘very interesting book’ on events that unwrapped during that period, including problems with party registration.
Banda also recognized politician and lawyer Paul Maulidi who worked tirelessly for the party registration to succeed. She also awarded others that were arrested by the DPP leadership for sticking with her movement.
Analysts say the praise for select people that are interested in positions at the convention was not in good faith, as she was seen to have been campaigning for some and de-campaigning for others. For instance her praising Maulidi has thrown spanners into current and all-time Secretary General, Henry Chibwana should he bid for the position.
Banda also hailed Mia’s wife for decorating the venue and feeding the delegates.
Then she turned to intra and inter party politics, advising the gathering to work together and not segregate in the votes between former DPP and original PP members.
“People rallied behind me and formed Friends of Joyce Banda when I was booted out of the DPP on 11th December,” she started, suffice to say it was the DPP membership that rigorously campaigned for her and party leader late Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika into the presidency.
“Those from DPP and PP should not hate each other. You both supported me. DPP members elected me to the presidency alongside late Mutharika. The position of the Vice-Presidency led to me to be in this current position of President.
“PP members picked me up when the DPP chased me,” she said in an apparent attempt to whittle down power struggle between the incoming DPP former leaders and “those that ‘picked me when I was ejected from the DPP”.
“I forgave all that ill-treated me within the DPP. I forgot all about that. My only enemy is poverty and this you must all know. You all have no reason to loathe each other but to work together in the PP, which must be a party of reason and remain exemplary. A party that does not go on the podium to castigate others,” she called on the gathering.
Mrs. Banda earlier in her speech said this very first convention is a yardstick and must be used as a lesson.
She then talked against people who only use grassroots people to rise up ladders then forget them once there.
“The tragedy is that sometimes when we get into leadership we forget the people that made us.
But I am here to thank the grassroots as I am also wakumudzi, wamandasi nzanu (a villager, fritter-making friend. I am mbuli nzanu(your fellow uneducated fool),” she said amid hand clapping and ululations.
Earlier Vice President Khumbo Kachale said the convention had attracted all the party’s four regions of North, Central, South and East with about 990 members from the district level, 193 constituency governors from across Malawi, 60 representatives from the Young Patriots, Orange Intellectuals, Orange Achievers, and Orange Patriots of the party.
He announced that there was also representation from the external wings of the PP from Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Chiefs and members of the diplomatic corps are also in attendance.
“We are happy for this large turn-up, but we should inform you all that the elections here are only for PP delegates. All of you friends and others will have to give us time to conduct elections as this is a party affair,” he said, advising all other invited guests to walk and remain outside after the president’s speech.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :