Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I will not leave DPP- Vice-President Joyce Banda

Vice President Joyce Banda says she has no immediate plans to leave the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), vowing to continue supporting President Bingu wa Mutharika and women empowerment drives.

Her comments follow increased pressure on the veep to support the presidency of Mutharika’s younger brother, Peter. DPP officials have been openly endorsing Education Minister Peter, with nobody coming out in support of Banda.

The veep has not has it smooth the past five months: state-run media now shun her; senior government ministers pester her to support Peter; DPP officials no longer openly associate with her, in fear they may be branded ‘traitors’ by party zealots- situations compounded by an accident the veep had earlier this week, when a lorry rammed into her official Mercedes Benz minutes after she changed vehicles.

Banda is, however, unfazed

“I will not leave the ruling party, and will be there till 2014 and beyond. There are many issues to look into: maternal mortality and morbidity, increased malaria and Tuberculosis deaths, the suppression of women in Malawi, and increased poverty levels. That is why I have had no time for petty issues,” said Banda.

She expressed gratitude to president Mutharika, saying his continued support for women empowerment “has kept me going, even in the face of difficult challenges”.

“It is because of His Excellency the State President, Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika, that I am hear. I appreciate his support for women, and hope that he will continue to respect and protect the dignity and rights of women in the country,” said Banda.

Banda said experiences encountered in the course of her work as Vice-President have “made me strong, and I hope to continue representing Malawian women. Women have a role to play in development, and should not be cowed by men” and this is what “I have learned from my office” so far.

The Vice-President also thanked Malawians for their support.

“Malawians have done a lot for me. It is my prayer that we will continue to work together, and that God will always be on our side. My appeal to Malawians is that they should learn to stick to their principles, and not be forced to toe other people’s line of thinking when that is against the common good. If it is for the common good, it does not hurt to change one’s stand over an issue; if it is meant to serve selfish purposes, don’t do it,” she added.
Banda said, even in the face of "so many mounting challenges, I will stand still and worki "tirelessly for mother Malawi: our people need development".

She also said she was grateful for the trust the international community has placed in her, citing her recently confirmed role as one of Africa’s top sexual reproductive health rights campaigners.

“It is an honour, not only on me, but Malawi as a whole. Through mu humble efforts, Malawi’s flag will fly high,” she said.

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