Shanil to contest against Pillane: Malawi ex-first lady to run on an independent ticket

Former First Lady, Patricia Shanil Muluzi, has declared her interest to contest as an independent parliamentary candidate for Balaka West Constituency in the forthcoming elections.

Shanil said on Tuesday that she was compelled by many challenges faced by Balaka West constituents and their outcry for her to stand in the 2014 election.

The constituency is currently being held by Nasrin Pillane.

“I have arrived at this decision after consultations with chiefs and the constituents,” Said the former First Lady in a telephone interview.

Former first lady Shanil: Aspires to be Member of Parliament
Former first lady Shanil: Aspires to be Member of Parliament

“I have also been approached by leaders of all the main parties in the country who all pleaded with me to stand on their respective party’s ticket.

“So with wide consultations, I decided to take the challenge by contesting as an independent because by taking a neutral stand, I will evade inter-party differences and serve the people better.”

Shanil, 49, said there were many problems in Balaka West constituency among them insufficient water supply and absence of health centers.

“People travel long distances to access health services because the only government hospital where services are free is Balaka District Hospital, but the rest are mission hospitals which are sparsely located.”

She added that there was no enough clean portable water and that people in the area were forced to use unsafe water, risking waterborne disease.

The former First Lady said she believed she had the gift of giving which she wanted the people of Balaka West constituency to experience.

Shanil, who June last year declared her allegiance to People’s Party (PP) at a rally in Zomba, said she had taken low profile since then because she was busy doing charity work in her constituency.

“I took low profile because, you know, every active party member has a lot of work to do to advance the party’s agenda,” she said. “So I noted that fellow party members in PP were successfully doing that and I thought of concentrating on charity work back home.”

She further challenged that for the first time, people from her constituency would see “development-focused politics and not politics where people called each other names.”

Patricia Shanil Muluzi was Malawi’s First Lady from 1999 – 2005. She hails from Mfulanjobvu Village, Group Village Head Chimpikizo, Traditional Authority Nsamala, Balaka, where she has been staying since 3 years ago, according to her.—Malawi News Agency

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