Thoko Banda says he still supports ‘agenda for change’: Malawi road to 2014

Thoko Banda, son to former veteran politician the late Aleke Banda, who has expressed interest to run as an independent presidential candidate in next year’s tripartite elections, says he is still supporting an Agenda for Change campaign spearheaded by Atupele Muluzi (UDF presidential candidate.)

Forty-nine-year-old Banda disclosed in Blantyre this week that he wants to run for presidency and promote a better Malawi for all.

Speaking on Capital Radio’s newly introduced programme, ‘The Candidate’ aired on Wednesday, Banda clarified that he has not de-linked from Atupele’s Agenda for Change, saying he was still in support of it.

“I am supporting the agenda for change,” he said.

Thoko Banda:Thoko Banda: I am still party to an Agenda for Change
Thoko Banda: I am still party to an Agenda for Change

However, Banda said he feels little change is taking place on the ground.

“ In two years we have not heard the substance behind it (Agenda for Change). Beyond the slogan, people need some meat. I am supporting this Agenda for Change and I will still support it,” said Banda.

“Supporting means change from the roots. Let’s be open to change everything,” he said.

Banda said he would want to win the elections “against the best not ophwekawa.”

“I will not begrudge everybody who has the ability [to lead Malawi].I am still supporting the agenda for change,” insisted Banda.

Banda explained that he did not join UDF.

“I was not in UDF. It is not about political parties , it’s about the people of Malawi,” he said.

Banda said Malawians need to know “detailed outline of policy position” to support the discussion on change.

“The burden of proof is us aspirants to explain what we stand for,” said Banda.

The presidential aspirant  credited himself for bringing  One Village One Product (OVOP), a concept which encourages local communities to concentrate on local strengths.

“I introduced OVOP in this country during Bakili Muluzi reign. It was my father  [late Aleke Banda] when he was appointed minister of agriculture who was interested to see the OVOP   concept in Japan. I took him there and in turn informed President Muluzi who approved it,” said Banda.

He also said Mzuzu Coffee has earned international market recognition because he marketed it.

Banda also paid tribute to former president Bakili Muluzi, saying he played a great role in bringing democracy in Malawi and establishing governance institutions.

“ Even when I was coming here in this country , Bakili  Muluzi [ helped  me] sent cars at the airport to pick me.”

Banda also pointed out that his father; Aleke left “a fantastic legacy of integrity” which he wanted to advance.

“I have zero experience in corruption. I don’t know anything about it,” he said.

The presidential hopeful said he wants to revolutionalise Malawi politics and create a society that make all people equal and start practicing politics based on policies.

Banda becomes the third politician in the country to contest as an independent presidential candidate. Former vice-president Justin Malewezi was the first during the 2004 elections and James Nyondo contested as an independent during 2009 general elections. They posted bad results.

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