For the first time in the history of democracy in Malawi, people will have an opportunity to ask the President on national issues through a live radio programme on December 31 2012.

President Joyce Banda has accepted to be interviewed live on Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) during which people will be given a chance to ask her questions through telephone calls and short message services (SMSs).

Pilirani Phiri, editor for both ZBS and Zodiak Online news, on Thursday said: “As Zodiak, we believe that there should be an interaction between the governors and the governed; hence, this initiative.”

Phiri said ZBS is thankful to the President for accepting the phone-in interview. He said the live programme at her official lakeshore retreat of Chikoko Bay in Mangochi will start from 9am.

Phiri pleaded for maturity from members of the public, urging them to ask questions that are relevant and bordering on policy and not political hatred.

Said Phiri: “However, we have all the facilities to ensure that only polite people get this chance to ask the President a question.”

Presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane also confirmed that Banda will interact with Malawians through the live radio programme which, he said, will accord her an opportunity to hear Malawians’ views on various issues.

Said Nhlane: “Her Excellency is a grass-roots President who likes to interact with the people. At this time when people are suffering because of the poor economy, the President feels for the people.

“The idea is, therefore, to interface with members of the public and get to hear their views on various issues affecting Malawians, but at the same time, enable the President to get her vision and agenda to the people and how her government is fighting hard in its efforts to fix the broken economy her government inherited.”

Nhlane advised people who would like to participate in the programme to prioritise their questions since time might be limited. He also said it would be important to stick to issues of national importance and not on petty politicking.

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