We cannot stop people joining Peoples Party, Joyce Banda declares

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Malawi President Joyce Banda on Wednesday said she cannot stop people from joining the ruling People’s Party (PP) on the premise that defectors will finally kill the country’s democracy.

Banda said this at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre during a news briefing on her return from the European Development Days (EDD) meeting in Brussels, Belgium, and the World Energy Forum in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The President’s remarks contradict PP deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda who is on record as having said the party was worried that defections of some opposition senior members may destroy the country’s democracy and create a one-party State.

Msonda was reacting to the defection of DPP’s Elias Wakuda Kamanga to PP last week. Kamanga was until his resignation secretary general of the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Said the President: “The PP’s doors are open and I cannot stop people from joining the party, but parties should make policies that will retain their membership.”

She said she was surprised by the resignation of two of DPP’s top brass, notably Kamanga and the then first vice-president Goodall Gondwe.

On reports that she planned to rope in Gondwe into government, Banda said she met Gondwe, the former International Monetary Fund official and DPP Finance minister who told her that he has left active politics. She said Gondwe encouraged her to continue with economic reforms the country is implementing.

Banda said the country has secured 35 million euros (about K15 billion) for the extension of the Cash Transfer Scheme currently being implemented in Salima and Mchinji districts.

A statement read at the news briefing said government has signed a 63 million euros (K27 billion) agreement with the European Union (EU) to support the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach and the Green Belt Initiative.

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