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Joyce Banda defends her inclusion of DPP MPs in govt at a briefing in the US

Malawians living in USA have questioned President Joyce Banda’s decision to incorporate cabinet ministers and other officials who were serving in the previous government, saying the people in question were not responsible enough to help the country avoid the mess incurred between 2009 to early 2012.

This is one of the questions the people living in the diaspora asked the President during a meeting which took place at Waldorf Astoria Hotel over the weekend.

Over 100 Malawians under the Association of Malawians in the Tri-State area (MAITA) and Boston attended the meeting.

Asking the question, a Mr Muwalo wanted to hear from the President the wisdom behind her decision to work with the same officials.

He was concerned that slowly Malawi will go back to the same problems due to the involvement of the recycled politicians.

In her response, Banda said the only way to bring the then divided

Malawi together was to continue working with the same officials and also incorporate some from other political parties.

“I came into government at a time when there was so much pain and hatred and I had to find a way to bring together and reconcile the people of Malawi. As a leader I had to do a lot of forgiving that was important for me as a leader.

“Also the way the previous government was being run, it is difficult to conclude who was acting responsibly or not because during the cabinet meetings, I remember my predecessor would introduce a topic and he will start asking one by one about their opinions, if two to three people differ with him his face started to change in reaction and that forced others to just accept the agenda he was trying to advance. I was there and I know that people like him (while referring to Foreign Affairs Minister) had no say,” she said.

She also added that it was important to have ministers who were Members of Parliament. The ruling People’s Party (PP) is yet to have elected Members of Parliament as the party was formed after the 2009 general elections.

Other issues of concern among the Malawians in diaspora included the border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania.

The diaspora asked Banda to try her best to avoid armed conflict in resolving the issue, arguing that the two countries are like brothers.

“Armed conflict will not take us anywhere. Your Excellency you may wish to know that I and my other family members were born in Tanzania when my parents were there in exile and we still have some relatives there. So it is my request that the issue should be resolved peacefully,” said Nathan Chiume.

In her response, Banda said Malawi would give room for mediation although she said Tanzania is continuing p r o v o king Malawi by deploying armed forces on Lake Malawi.

The diaspora also asked Banda to do something on the current water shortages that have hit almost all urban areas and shortage of medicine in hospitals.

The President was also asked to clarify on reports indicating that China has withdrawn funding towards the construction of a stadium and the withdrawal of other aid.

“China cannot withdraw the funding, on what grounds? That is just hearsay. In fact the money for the stadium is ready and about 10 projects for Malawi are on the China’s table, which include the construction of an airport in Mangochi,” she said.

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