Stand up against tyranny, JB tells Nsanje chiefs

Besides being custodians of customs, culture and tradition, traditional chiefs have to play an oversight role over national leaders to check against creeping or growing tyranny against their own subjects and the general citizenry, State Vice President Joyce Banda, has said.

She was speaking on Friday when she addressed hundreds of her People’s Party (PP) supporters at Nsanje Community Centre Ground under terrible baking temperatures.

“As leaders, we must always stand up against tyranny and misrule; we must not turn out to be sell-outs, keeping our mouths shut because of small handouts distributed by those in power,” Banda said.

Joyce Banda: In Nsanje

“The country is going through terrible social, political and economic difficulties and we fail our people, as traditional and opposition leaders, when we turn a blind eye to all these social, political and economic ills,” she said, reiterating that as an “employee” of the people, she shall not tire to point out any ills against the people of Malawi “as that is my constitutional obligation.”

Citing Section12 of the Republican Constitution, Banda, who is also the founding President of the PP, said national leaders draw their authority to rule from the people and that leaders should therefore desist from acting the “masters of the people” but instead “servants of the people”.

Section 12 of the Constitution subsection 1  reads that “All legal and political authority of the state derives from the people of Malawi and shall be exercised in accordance with this Constitution solely to serve and protect their interests”.

Subsection III says that “The authority to exercise power of the State is conditional upon the sustained trust of the people of Malawi and that trust can only me maintained through open, accountable and transparent Government and informed democratic choice”.

The State Vice President said she had travelled to Nsanje to primarily assess the suffering of the people following recent heavy rains and floods that had displaced many families and destroyed crops and livestock.

Besides, she also said she had visited the district 10 months after the People’s Party registration to thank the people for their unwavering support to the new party.

“I came here to sympathize with you and give you some relief items such as food to mitigate the impact of the catastrophe here; but alas, I was told by the authorities yesterday that I was barred from making any official donation so what I will do is to give the items that I brought to the chiefs here present so that they can identify the most affected people and give them the items,” the first woman State Vice President told the cheering crowd.

She specially recognized the presence of the chiefs at her meeting, saying she had greater reverence for traditional leaders and that it was an insult that some leaders were abusing them for their own political advancement.

About her party, she reiterated that it is the party for the people hence its slogan “Power to the People”.

The VP said their desire to empower the people had motivated them to consider poverty eradication among Malawians as its core undertaking when they form the next government in 2014. She said the PP would achieve this by creating employment opportunities for both the educated and the uneducated.

“We want to empower the people economically,” she said adding that the PP’s pillars are Unity, Equity and Development.

“Without unity, their can never be any meaningful development in our country. Under Equity, we’re saying that Malawi belongs to all of us and the national cake cannot be distributed along regional, tribal or ethnic lines; Kamuzu (Banda) told us that there are no Senas in Malawi; no Tumbukas; no Yaos; and no Chewas; we’re all Malawians,” said Banda.

She said as part of empowering the people, the PP had launched what she called “Tiuzeni Campaign” where the party would solicit citizens input in the formulation of its Manifesto “so that it carries everyone and all aspirations on board”.

Speaking at the same meeting, Village Headman Chikhwemba, PP District Chairman Tommy Chiliro and PP Provincial Chairman for the South Ali M’balaka thanked Banda for “remembering” the people of Nsanje and called on the people to support her and the PP if they were to experience meaningful political, social and economic transformation.

Some of the people at Joyce Banda's Nsanje rally

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