Friday, July 30, 2010

Rupiah helped me get the second term - Bingu

Rupiah helped me get the second term - Bingu
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 30 July 2010, 14:00 CAT

Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutharika flanked by his Zambian Counterpart Rupiah Banda (r) on arrival at the Lusaka International Airport for the official opening of the 84th Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show Picture by Thomas Nsama on July 29, 2010-

MALAWIAN President Bingu Wa Mutharika has disclosed that President Rupiah Banda helped him in the campaigns to secure his second term of office last year.

During a state banquet hosted in his honour at Lusaka's Inter-Continental Hotel on Thursday night, President Wa Mutharika hailed the relations between Malawi and Zambia.

“Talking about political development, let me also disclose without embarrassing my brother Rupiah, that he assisted me quite a lot in the campaign that just passed. As a result I had a landslide victory,” President Wa Mutharika, who chose to speak whilst seated, said. “I am much older than my brother President Banda so I will like to sit down.”

President Banda had earlier read his speech whilst standing.

President Wa Mutharika said there were people in Malawi who thought he would be the shortest serving President on the continent, but they did not know that he had the power of God behind him.

“Because I said ‘God do you really want me to serve so short?’ And God didn’t allow it, and as a result they gave me a landslide victory. Now there is perfect peace in Malawi and I can comfortably invite the opposition and say whatever I want to say. Of course I am very comfortable with them,” he said.

President Wa Mutharika said when Malawi experienced an earthquake in Karonga, President Banda sent timely help to assist the people. He said this was a sign that the two countries continued to stand by each other.

President Wa Mutharika said while Zambia was expecting a surplus of 1.5 million metric tonnes, Malawi would get a surplus of 1.3 million tonnes plus the 300,000 tonnes from irrigation.

“So we have a right to tell the rest of the world that we can feed ourselves. It is for this reason that I introduced the African basket at the African Union, meaning that Africa should be able to feed itself within five years,” he said.

President Wa Mutharika said he was pleased to note that the two countries had created an environment for cooperation through the Malawi-Zambia Joint Permanent Commission.

He said the two countries must continue to consult each other at all levels.

“In this regard I would like to ask for each of you to look for opportunities for the two countries to work together instead of just criticising government,” President Wa Mutharika said.

“I would like to urge my state mate once again by expressing my deep gratitude to you my brother Rupiah Banda for personally gracing the occasion when I was being inaugurated in my second term of office following the resounding victory I said. So you see when I tell my brother ‘I am having this’, he runs and comes. And I will do the same.”

President Wa Mutharika thanked Zambians for President Banda’s success.
He said sometimes it was easy to criticize government that it was not doing anything.

“And I turn and say ‘you are the government, what are you doing yourself?’ And I think that is where we should start from. Not to say ‘the government is failing to do this’. Because if you say the government has failed then you have failed because you are the government,” President Wa Mutharika said.

He asked Zambians to cooperate with President Banda’s government, saying he had worked with him, late president Levy Mwanawasa and Dr Kenneth Kaunda and knew how devoted the leadership was to the development of Zambia.

“I want you to appreciate this. It’s easy to criticise. It is very easy not to be grateful, but the Bible says ‘in everything give thanks’,” President Wa Mutharika said.

President Wa Mutharika, who acknowledged his wife Ca and Zambia’s First Lady Thandiwe as their 'Excellencies', narrated how Dr Kaunda helped him settle in Zambia in 1964 after he had ran away from Malawi.

He said he arrived from Malawi with only five pounds, and after the money had finished he rushed to see Dr Kaunda whom he had previously met in India.

President Wa Mutharika said he explained his ordeal and Dr Kaunda intervened.

“He put me at Longacres and for the first time in several days I was glad to have a nice shower and a nice square meal. And of course he gave me a job in the Ministry of Finance and worked closely with late Arthur Wina. So that was the beginning of my stay in exile which lasted 24 years,” said President Wa Mutharika.

And President Banda said Zambia valued President Wa Mutharika’s acceptance to the invitation to officiate at the 84th Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka whose theme is “Sustainable Development”.

He said the abundant crop of maize would help the country strengthen food security.
President Banda said Zambia was not indifferent to what those in Malawi were doing and had therefore taken a leaf from that country’s success in Agriculture.

He said with statistics by the Food and Agriculture Organisation showing that over one million people were going hungry each year, investment in agriculture and food production was something worth noting.

President Banda said the agricultural show was an important annual event, which not only provided a platform to showcase Zambia’s products but also afforded an equal opportunity to foreign participating firms to promote their products on the Zambian market.

He said he was pleased to note that a good number of Malawian companies were participating in this year’s show as it would foster trade relations between the two countries, which have been low despite the existing warm political ties.

President Banda said the challenges that existed between the two countries were insurmountable.

“If we harmoniously put our efforts and resources behind our development process, I have every confidence that we can achieve the desired outcome of mutual economic growth and development,” said President Banda before he invited people to a toast.

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