TIMAU: President Joyce Banda must act tough

“If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman”—Margaret Thatcher (former British prime minister)

The honeymoon was short. President Joyce Banda’s predecessor, Bingu Wamtharika bought a jet, a move that saddened the donors. President Banda promised to sell it but the jet is still on Malawi soil. She promised to do away with ministers’ expensive Mercedes Benz cars to cut costs-nothing has happened. The IMF wanted the kwacha devalued; but this has taken place without preparing the people for it.

The Timau crew will now examine Joyce Banda’s leadership skills and see if she is acting tough as she speaks.

When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, Britain was a dump, “the sick man of Europe” and on the brink of total economic collapse.

When she left power in 1990, it was one of the financial capitals of the world. Thatcher had her shortfalls however.

Commander of the Defence force General Henry Odilo Wecoming the state President Mrs.Joyce Banda at the Zomba war memorial pill

It is frequently said that Malawi President, Joyce Banda, inherited a Presidential desk plagued with piles of severe economic challenges to overcome. Will she like Thatcher, make Malawi the one financial capital of Southern Africa?

After entering 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives to reverse what she perceived to be Britain’s precipitous national decline. In contrast, President Joyce Banda listened to people and international organisations when she entered State House. We want our President to act tough and show Malawians that she is at the helm of power.

“If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman”— we are seeing tough words but no action perhaps it’s not Joyce Banda in charge but men behind her. Women act tough!


Banda claims that her government is on track to achieving economic recovery, saying short-term reform agenda that commenced last May has already achieved a number of important gains. However, Malawians have not started experiencing the results.

President Banda has to talk tough if the economy has to be reversed into a success. “Pennies don’t fall from heaven-they have to be earned here on earth”, this is the tough talking that came from Margaret Thatcher when she overturned the British economy. Maybe Joyce Banda can borrow a leaf or two from Thatcher.

Decision Making

“Defeat? I do not recognise the meaning of the word”—Thatcher.

On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a remote UK colony in the South Atlantic. The move led to a brief, but bitter war. Margaret Thatcher put her foot down and showed the world that she was a serious leader; she declared war on Argentina. Why are Tanzanians bickering with us about our Lake? What is our President doing? Is she perceived as a weak leader by Tanzanians?  The lake dispute is believed to be associated with oil exploration on Lake Malawi and it is former President, Late Bingu Wamtharika who authorised the exploration for oil on the lake. Why were the Tanzanians quiet? Are they underrating Joyce Banda? We are not suggesting war but we think its time for Her Excellency President Joyce Banda to start to act tough and not just talking tough.

We want the President’s political philosophy and economic policies to start moving in one direction. The kwacha is down but we want you Madam to shield the poor not with words but action.


Promise is in a group of verbs that mean to declare solemnly that one will follow a particular course of action. When President Joyce Banda ascended into power she promised to sell the Presidential jet and pack up Ministers Mercedes Benz as a cost saving measure but all of that has not been done, to date. Make a tough decision on the jet Madam, sell it or keep it. Dispose of those cars or keep them. We want you to act tough.  Leadership is about tough decisions. A President can make a decision that can see thousands lose their lives and save millions. Joyce Banda should not be swayed by people. Joyce Banda should rule. She should learn from great leaders. Great leaders know how to create the right lens through which their teams view the world, allowing them to interpret even the toughest situations in constructive, empowering ways. The contextual lens they create is often focused on a desired outcome. What is the desired outcome for President Banda? Do we know it? No!

When the President was swearing in Moses Kunkuyu, the Information Minister, she promised an “open door communication policy” but now it seems like the door is almost always shut, and when it is not we feel intimidated to go in.

Much as we agree that President Joyce Banda is still learning the tricks of the trade, she should start acting tough for the good of the nation.

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