Malawi President Joyce Banda on Monday urged her Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) supporters and all Malawians to hold hands as she and the ruling party fight poverty in the country.
The President, speaking when she opened PPâ€™s first ever convention at the College of Medicine in Blantyre, also used the occasion to recognise those who stood by her as an estranged State vice-president during the DPP regime and the PPâ€™s formative times.
But her speech fell short of expectation when she did not outline the â€˜newâ€™ partyâ€™s building and consolidation effortsâ€”notably, issues of party structures, systems, resource mobilisation as well as membership drive.
Also a notable omission from the maiden convention speech was how PP, as a ruling party, will address challenges the country is undergoing, including the economic downturn and growing insecurity, among others.
Instead, Bandaâ€™sÂ Â keynote address recognised some individuals for coming out to form PP, which started as a sympathy group, the Friends of Joyce Banda, when she was fired from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in December 2010 for allegedly forming parallel structures.
Among those recognised were Lawrence Mpofu and Samson Msosa, whom Banda described as the partyâ€™s foot soldiers. Paul Maulidi also received special mention for his unrelenting quest to register the party.
The President also mentioned some detainees who were arrested after clashing with DPP members at a funeral in Zomba last January.
But Banda said she has forgotten the past, referring to the harassment by the DPP regime.
â€œLet us hold hands and we should move forward. My main enemy in this country is poverty,â€ she said.
Banda expressed surprise at the withdrawal of Caesar Fatchi, a Blantyre-based businessperson who earlier openly said he would contest the party presidency during the convention. Fatchi said he withdrew on technical grounds.