Malawi to respect rule of law, rights – JB

President Joyce Banda has reiterated that as a member of the Commonwealth, Malawi embraces the principles of liberty, human rights and democracy and that it’s new path will be the one that promotes the rule of law, respect for human rights, and a government that provides an inclusive space for institutions critical for our democracy to grow and flourish.

She was speaking on Saturday on the occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Malawi at the Residence of the British Honorary Consul in Malawi, Krishna Savjani.

Presidenrt Banda with guests at the function

 “I feel greatly honoured to join you at this auspicious occasion marking Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.  On behalf of the people and Government of Malawi and indeed on my own behalf, let me extend to Her Majesty the Queen our sincere congratulations on this remarkable attainment and best wishes for her continued good health and happiness,” said President Banda, noting that earlier this month she joined other Leaders of the Commonwealth of Nations in London, to witness the colourful Diamond Jubilee celebrations. 

 “The festivities included among other events, a Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a 1,000 boat flotilla on the River Thames, a pop concert and a Banquet at the Buckingham Palace.  It was a privilege and an honour to me on behalf of all Malawians to be part of this history.

“I am particularly encouraged by the words of encouragement that Her Majesty gave me when we met at one of the festivities. She acknowledged the difficult times that Malawi has gone through, but in her typical motherly gesture, Her Majesty gave me the assurances and inspiration that Malawi will surmount its challenges,” she said.

 Banda also noted that the Diamond Jubilee affords Malawians a chance to reaffirm their belief that the British Monarchy is an enduring institution, and important pillar of the Commonwealth, adding the jubilee enables members to celebrate the grandeur of Great Britain as an influential and respected member of the international community.

 “A celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is in my view, a celebration of Britain and the Commonwealth.

 “As we continue celebrating the long and glorious reign of Her Majesty the Queen, who is also Head of the Commonwealth, let us be reminded of the successes of the Organization over the years of her able leadership.  We have witnessed the Commonwealth having a special interest in the global fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic; the promotion of democracy and development; capacity building and technology transfer; free trade; women and youth development and empowerment,” she observed.

 She said Her Majesty the Queen is held in high regard in Malawi, recalling she left an indelible mark on Malawians when she visited the country in 1979. 

 “Our two modest ways in which we appreciate her, include, the naming of our biggest hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.  Secondly, on top of Zomba Mountain, is a spot called the Queen’s View.  This is the place where, when Queen Elizabeth II visited the country in July, 1979 stood, to take in the beauty of the country.”

 She also noted that Malawians recall with pride and satisfaction, the long and rich history of excellent and mutual beneficial relations between Malawi and Britain, that dates as far back as the 1800s, when the British missionaries came to Malawi, saying the relations have endured the test of time, and have always remained cordial and mutually beneficial.

 “This is why when the relations were needlessly strained last year, my administration worked tirelessly to restore them and bring them to even greater heights. I am proud that the diplomatic rift has been healed and the relations are back on cordial and friendly terms.

 “I believe that my visit to the UK and Rt. Honorable Andrew Mitchell’s recent visit to Malawi are great symbols of the restoration of our historical and cordial relations,” explained President Banda.

 She paid “special gratitude” to Her Majesty’s Government “for being the first to come to our support to cushion the impact of the economic reforms, which my Government has embarked upon”. 

 “You are aware that the British Government recently released £33 million to my Government.  These resources were released even before we concluded our discussions with the International Monetary Fund on an economic program for the country. 

“Such a gesture is a manifestation of the confidence that Her Majesty’s Government has in my Government and the Malawi nation is extremely grateful for this gesture,” said President Banda, Malawi’s first female Head of State in southern Africa and the second in Africa after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.


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