President Banda for good neighbourliness

Malawi President Joyce Banda says her government will continue in building good relationships with neighboring countries observing that Malawi cannot afford to live in isolation.

She said unlike her predecessor’s regime, her government would endeavour to respect all the leaders of the neighboring countries, specifically because of what they had done during Late President Bingu wa Mutharika’s funeral by assisting in various ways.

Speaking Sunday at Ngabu Community Sports ground in Chikhwawa during the culmination of activities marking her 100 days as President, Banda said she never expected countries such as Mozambique and Zambia to come forward and assist the country during that time considering the sour relationships that existed then.

President Banda marks 100 days in office. Photo by Amanda Chiliro/Nyasa Times

“If you didn’t know, President Mugabe’s government is the one currently providing us with funds to buy fuel. This is from the sale of maize that was made between our country and Zimbabwe,” Banda said, adding that it was therefore time to build and not destroy relationships with the countries in order to sustain the development strides that have so far been made.

The President then expressed gratitude to all the traditional leaders in the country for the support they have been rendering to her from the time she was Vice President to now when she has ascended to the high office of President.

She said traditional leaders are the ones that build nations, and as such they deserve all respect. She however asked the chiefs to work with her government to foster unity and development.

Reacting to an appeal that was made by Traditional Authority Ngabu, who asked the President to intervene in the cotton industry that has met with a lot of challenges this growing season such as low prices on the market, the President assured the chief and all farmers that she would look into the challenges facing the cotton farmers.

“I am aware that cotton farmers were promised good prices for the crop which made most of them abandon all other crops to concentrate on cotton, only to be disappointed as they did not get the fruit of their sweat,” bemoaned Banda.

She however, said she was aware of the plight of the people of the shire valley pledging that her government was this year implementing projects geared towards ending poverty and hunger.

“I am aware that from the year 2009 this area has been experiencing drought even though the picture that was being painted then was rosy. I know people have been selling their livestock and utensils just to make sure they find something to eat. And just because we are aware that this year people have nothing, we have set aside K1.5billion to buy and provide livestock as a pass-on project,” said the President.

She said in addition, her government has started implementing a food for work project to ensure that people have money to buy food for their households. She also assured the people that funds have been identified for ADMARC to start buying maize which should in turn be sold to the people.

On this note, the President said she was grateful to Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited whom she said would be growing maize to be distributed to the people of Chikhwawa who will not have food starting November this year.

On security, the President asked people living in border districts to be cautious of illegal immigrants saying any officer who will be involved in aiding such people will be fired.

“I hear these people are entering our country in their hundreds. Now if by the year we were attaining our independence, we were 4 million and by now 14 million, where are we going to live if we let them enter our country in their large numbers,” queried the President.

On the political front, President Banda urged all political leaders that included former president Bakili Muluzi, Professor Peter Mutharika, herself and others to play their part each in ensuring that lives of Malawians changed for the better instead of concentrating much on political innuendoes.

She said she was ready to work with everyone until lives of Malawians changed for the better.

Earlier, Member of Parliament for Chikhwawa Nkombezi, Sidik Mia assured the President of his full support together with the people from his constituency so that she amasses more votes in 2014 general elections.

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