President Joyce Banda has said she will keep on travelling across the country to consult chiefs on challenges facing the country regardless of condemnation from her critics.

She made the remarks in Dowa on Thursday during the elevation ceremony of Traditional Authority Dzoole as a Senior Chief.

The president has come under severe criticism by critics for her frequent local and international travel, but she defended her travel as necessary for the country.

“If some people say I should stop visiting the chiefs, then they are wrong. I will continue travelling to visit the chiefs and consult them. I have always been travelling to meet people, and I will not stop today, not even if you pull out my vehicle from me, I will walk to see people,” she stated.

Earlier this year, the president came under heavy attack after she travelled to the United Nations general assembly with a delegation of close to 30 people including traditional chiefs.

But speaking at the ceremony, Banda further defied the critics, saying she will continue taking chiefs on foreign trips too, in spite of contrary opinions.

“Chiefs will be going to foreign trips,” said the president.

She, however, indicated she may cut on her own foreign travelling; citing that she last week delegated Vice president Khumbo Kachali to receive an award on her behalf in Kenya as an example that she will not go everywhere.

On the ailing economy, she said she was optimistic that her government’s Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) was on track and will eventually succeed.

She appealed to Malawians to endure momentarily the pain of some reforms including the devaluation of the kwacha.

Earlier, the president elevated Sub-Traditional Authority Mponela to full Traditional Authority. She encouraged chiefs to cooperate with the government on key national issues including improving maternal health, one of the key themes of her presidency.

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