JB avoids commenting on broken alliance

Former president and People’s Party (PP) leader Joyce Banda on Sunday avoided commenting on her party’s sudden pullout from an electoral alliance with UTM Party and other parties.

In her first public rally since the alliance failed, held on Sunday at Mfumba Community Ground at Lunzu in Blantyre, Banda focused on what her government would do once elected into power after the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

Banda: We will introduce smart villages

On February 1 this month, PP entered into an electoral alliance with UTM Party, Aford and Tikonze People’s Movement (TPM) but pulled out barely three days later.

Banda later went on to present her nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) last Tuesday, signifying that she will be on the ballot on May 21.

Speaking at Comesa Hall in Blantyre when she presented her papers to MEC, Banda declined to comment on why she pulled out of the alliance after touting UTM leader Saulos Chilima, who is also the country’s Vice-President, as the most capable candidate to steer the country to development.

But during the Sunday rally, Banda avoided it and it took her party’s national organising secretary Tionge Banda to comment on the issue after the PP leader had finished her address and was about to leave the venue.

Said the national organising secretary: “Some people from UTM were here spreading lies that our president has endorsed Chilima, that is a blatant lie. Our president will be among those contesting for the position of president and let us vote for her. Don’t listen to those lies.”

But in her speech, Banda pledged to introduce universal Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp), saying this year’s Fisp did not benefit poor Malawians.

She said: “We have reports from almost all districts that the number of this year’s Fisp beneficiaries has gone down compared to the previous years.  In some villages, only six or 10 people benefited. I want to assure Malawians that I will introduce universal farm input subsidy if elected in the May 21 elections.”

Banda also pledged to introduce smart villages to provide decent housing, free secondary education, free solar energy to rural communities.

Earlier on, PP Southern Region provincial chairperson Isaac Nyakamera hailed PP supporters for being faithful to the party. n

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