President Banda makes a moving ‘I have a dream’ address

Malawi’s Head of State on Friday delivered a State of the Nation that she said as modelled on Martin Luther Jnr famous “I have a dream” speech. She was officially opening the 2012/2013 Budget Meeting of Parliament at the New Parliament Building in the Capital City, Lilongwe.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, Martin Luther King Jnr. once said ‘I have a dream’. Yes, I also have a dream. I see a Malawi where her citizens enjoy their freedom, dignity and a sense of pride. Yes, I see Malawians maximise their capacity to realise their social, political and economic empowerment. I see Government eradicate poverty of its people through economic growth and wealth creation,” said President Banda.

Banda also said she has a dream where she sees citizens getting jobs not because of where they come from; but because they qualify for it. The President said she sees businesses winning tenders not because they have bribed; not because they sponsor the ruling party but because they qualify to deliver.

President Banda delivering State of the Nation address. Photo: Fallys Ngalauka/Nyasa Times

“I see opposition leaders on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation TV. I see opposition parties printing their uniforms from textile companies here in Malawi. I see freedom upon our people.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, I also have a dream. I see children going to school and not spending time in their parent’s gardens during school time. I see the girl child excelling in her education like her brother.

“Yes, I see our education system delivering quality education. I see our health system delivering quality health care,” said the country’s first female Head of State and the second in Africa after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The President also said she had a dream where she sees fuel in service stations and that she also sees “electricity all day long” and clean water delivered to people.

“I see young children in rural areas playing on computers. I see industries mushrooming across the country. Indeed, I also have a dream,” said President Banda, who leads the governing People’s Party (PP).

At the outset of her address, the President expressed her “sincere and heartfelt sadness” over the death of “my former Head of State and Government, the Late Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika”.

“Once again, I extend my sincere condolences to you, Mr. Speaker, Sir, Honourable Members, the bereaved family and the entire nation. I invite all of you to celebrate his life and always remember his successes and positive contributions that he made to this country. My administration intends to build on his achievements,” she said before she requested the House to rise and observe two minutes of silence in honour of the Late President.

The President said the State of the Nation Address provides Malawians with an opportunity to reflect on the journey Malawians have taken; “the journey to overcome poverty; the journey to overcome nepotism; the journey to overcome oppression; yes, the journey to unlock our potential as Malawians to realise our destiny”.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, this journey has been painful to many of our citizens. Many of our country men and women have lived in this country as destitute; as second class citizens; as aliens: not sharing the pride of being Malawian.

“This has been either because one is a woman. This has been either because one comes from a “strange” tribe. This has been either because age. This has been either because one is born with a disability.

“This could also be because one was born into a poor family. These conditions have assigned many of our citizens to punishment where our society has stopped caring for them,” observed President Banda.

“Mr. Speaker, Sir, as a Malawian who is deeply conscious of the history and struggles of Malawians; as a Malawian woman who knows the humiliation of Malawian women; as a Malawian who has championed the plight of rural poor, the plight of urban poor, the plight of marginalized girls and boys; and as a Malawian human rights activist who has championed for the advancement of the oppressed; and as a Malawian diplomat who has campaigned for the Malawian people; I can attest to the fact that the history of a Malawian is intimately intertwined with the history of Africa and indeed the history of the world,” she said.

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