Joyce Banda, you darling!!!
I am sure the people of Malawi are shaking their heads in disbelief, shocked at the sudden ‘extreme makeover’ that their country is going through. Malawi, fresh from the death of their president, Bingu wa Mutharika in April, is enjoying a renaissance, introduced by the woman who has taken over the reins—and who has signalled a fresh start which will definitely take her country to another level.
Joyce Banda, the wife of our former Chief Justice Joseph Banda, has lifted a dark cloud that was hovering over this impoverished country, showing the type of leadership that is needed in a developing country to take it out of that status.
Not so long ago Malawi was the toast of the SADC region, enjoying an economic boom with an average growth of seven per cent in 2004. But that positive growth soon turned into turmoil and the economy dipped in wa Mutharika’s second term when the former president started giving in to his dictatorial tendencies; postponing elections, enacting several unconstitutional laws, and intimidating his opponents.
There were soon protests, some of which led to violent and deadly clashes and, last year, security forces used live ammunition to disperse thousands of anti-government protestors, leaving more than 18 dead.
Malawi was entering a decline at lightning speed, aided by the pulling-out of donors from all types of funding, as well as the IMF stopping its promises of funding. Things were bad. Really bad. The president succumbed to a stroke in April and the woman who was almost kicked out of government at the height of the political strife took over. How things have changed.
The new president has moved quickly to stamp her authority and show that she is no mere flash in the pan, especially with her latest decision to do away with the ‘big boys’ club’ of the SADC region when she made it clear she did not want the Sudanese President Al Basheer in her country.
Malawi was going to host a SADC summit next month, which Al Basheer is expected to attend. Joyce Banda told SADC that if the President of Sudan stepped onto the soil of her country she would have him arrested because he is wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
This is a mind-shift in SADC. The big boys are not used to this kind of dissent because they have always stood together in such matters—which is why Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe remains untouchable and why Al Basheer is still around despite a warrant for his arrest being issued.
Joyce Banda is having none of this. She has now declined the opportunity to host the summit because of her stance which has, no doubt, ruffled the feathers of the SADC heads of state. I am certain that her stance will now form part of the agenda for their discussions in Ethiopia, where the summit will now be held and to which, I am certain, Al Basheer will be allowed to travel.
Back home, the president has made some very crucial decisions that needed to be made. For starters she restored the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as the most popular of all her decisions - ditching the ‘bling’. She has sold the presidential jet and 60 limousines used for Cabinet ministers.
Most recently, she has also resumed talks with the IMF over a new loan as well as an agreement to resume full diplomatic relations with Britain.
The African Development Bank has already pledged US$45 million in budget support while Zambia and South Africa have donated fuel. And how could they not? Joyce Banda is making it hard for them not too—she even travels economy class to her meetings with the rest of the world!
It sounds like a fairytale, but this woman president has shown that it can be done. She has shown that the fortunes of a country can be changed by doing what is right.
Now the people of Malawi can smile again because they have confidence that the decisions being made by their leadership are in line with their own aspirations; and that the person calling the shots understands the pain they are going through.
This is why there is a breath of fresh air about her country, because suddenly everyone embraces the hope that things are going to get better rather than the feeling of impending doom that engulfed every little ounce of their lives before. It is something the world has sat up and recognised and all agree that Malawi is showing the kind of political leadership the world let alone Swaziland is desperate for.
Swaziland could look to Malawi and Joyce for some tips both for how quickly we can plunge into the doldrums, and how quickly it is possible to win back the confidence of both the people and the world at large.
As for Joyce, she is a darling!
Well put Mr. Editor..Malawi is surely heading to the right direction,even though her critics say she is 'licking the donor's boots', allegations which she quenched this week. She is really doing an excellent representation of the women species and showing everyone that there are women who think with their brains instead of their hearts. The Nyasa Times also reported that upon her return from USA and Britain,where she had gone for talks, she announced that the country is not going to hold independence celebrations on 8 July, "..as part of austerity measures...Holding such celebrations is expensive, actually we need to raise over K100million (E30 739), so it is better to use such huge sums of money on buying drugs for hospitals, however, we will have a national day of prayers, " she was quoted by the Nyasa Times. This is what I call political will by a leader that has the best interest of her people at heart. Surely, Malawi will be Southern Africa's marvel in 2 decades time, if such policies can be sustained in Malawi. The big question is, how about your poor Swaziland? I am ashamed to say that I am Swazi at times, not because I blame God for making me one, but because of what our own people, fellow Swazis in leadership positions make us to endure. We have been swimming in poverty and political malnutrition for decades post independence. It's really ironic that Swaziland attained her independence..what independence really? Independence to boot-lick royalty and have everything dubbed royal everything?...I am sure we are even getting a royal education in a royal country,led by a royal PM,with a royal parliament and judiciary..This is not 21st century leadership attributes...Besides,the absolute monarch concept is an outdated concept all together..the sickening decisions that are taken somewhere between Mahhala and Zulwini and in one Hospital hill have failed this country,and worse is still to come if Swazis don't stand up....I don't hate the monarch or any person in the royal Swaziland government, but I hate with all my heart and body,their sickening policies (assuming they have any) and leadership skills... We need to refine the Tinkhundla system and make it more accountable and transparent, by allowing royalty to step aside of politics and instead run our own country, we can take a leaf from Britain...If the monarch could step aside from politics,even the insults on Facebook reveled at them would reduce because they would no longer be shouldering the mess created daily, but it will be the govt of the day that would be in the spotlight...The image of the monarch right now,will never ganner any positivity,and instead, this country is being shoved into political turmoil and vulnerability to a political revolution...Watch the space phela if what is obtaining currently is anything to go by...Remember,unlike in Malawi..a heart attack won't save us since we are a KINGDOM...if you know what I mean...
Jun 15, 2012, 3:05 AM, Mduyaye (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May God grant her the wisdom. He gave to Solomon wasendvulo to lead her country to greater heights amen. Hhawu tsine kungaphuma tidvumbu uma ungemuka bantfu timoto, tindiza, tinkundla bafati nemicimbi yeminyakanyaka noma kutsiwa kute imali
Jun 15, 2012, 3:05 AM, Lwazi Dlamini (lwazi@gmail)
Well done madam, let's have more of your breed Madam President, to revamp the desolated heritages for everyone of us to benefit from them. The attitude we see here in Swaziland has damaged males reputation in leadership; they become deaf, cold-blooded, greedy, wanted to be recognized when they themselves shun others, embodiment of certain principalities and powers, love to see many suffering just to maintain their egos. Where are some of them today? They are history, the likes of Saddam, Brother Leader, Iddi Amin; just to mention only a few for now.
Jun 15, 2012, 3:05 AM, Look, listen and decide!
Clearly shes a darling. If running a country in a democratic way like this, then I'm open to democracy, especially where there's transparency and accountability. Being in leadership is a priviledge not a RIGHT...
Jun 15, 2012, 3:05 AM, Vinny (email@example.com)
Nice read Mr. Ed, but its AU Summit not SADC. However, any editor who's never made a mistake before may cast the first stone. Hehehe, 'observe' my drift?
Jun 15, 2012, 1:05 PM, Tzlm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You got it all wrong, Joyce is taking Malawi to the bin. People are suffering more now than three months ago due to the devaluation. When writing you need to do more research as well, not good to call an AU summit a SADC meeting.
Jun 15, 2012, 1:05 PM, Nyolonyo Banda (email@example.com)
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