24 June 2019

Malawi: Nankhumwa Says DPP Will Not Take Malawians for Granted - Outlines Vision, Hails Mutharika

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has appealed to Malawians to trust the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government because it has the best laid out plans to continue developing this country.

Nankhumwa: I am deeply indebted to President Mutharika for showing so much faith in me

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times in Lilongwe on Sunday, June 23, 2019, Nankhumwa said under the visionary leadership of President Peter Mutharika, this country is set to develop to higher levels, socially and economically, based on DPP government's past performance and what the President outlined in State of the Nation Address when he opened the sitting of Parliament on last Friday.

Following his appointment as Agriculture Minister as well as Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Nankhumwa thanked President Mutharika for yet again entrusting him with these responsibilities, promising not to fail the President and the country.

"I am deeply indebted to President Mutharika for showing so much faith in me to serve in these two roles: first as Minister of Agriculture and secondly as Leader of Government Business in Parliament," he said.

"You know the economy of this country is agro-based, meaning it relies heavily on agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture is key in sustaining the wheels of our economy from a production perspective.

"I will ensure that we have a good vision for this ministry and also that we engage all partners so that there is adequate food security in this country at household level and also enough surplus for commercial purposes," said Nankhumwa.

He said that as Leader of the House, he will ensure that there is unity of purpose on both sides of the isle, government and opposition, to ensure that politics does not boggle down important business in the House.

"I am glad that most parliamentarians have returned to Parliament, and congratulations to them, but I am also aware that others are new and that has a tendency to erode the institutional memory of the august House. This needs concerted efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that all members are up to speed with parliamentary procedures and that Parliament is fully functioning and professionally discharging its legislative, oversight and representation duties.

"I am glad that we have some of the most motivated minds at the moment both in Parliament and outside who are willing to be involved and I am positive that soon, we will be on a good road," added Nankhumwa.

He reiterated what President Mutharika said about all Cabinet Ministers being equal saying that would help to promote team work, and ensure that the Cabinet is result oriented. He said he, and Cabinet colleagues are more than ready to deliver a government for the people and one which responds to the detailed requirements of common Malawians.

"As you know, our DPP has just been given another mandate to govern for the next five years and this underlines the trust that Malawians have in our performance. However, that should not make us to be complacent or to take the people for granted. Instead, we must redouble our efforts; to invest fully in uplifting of the socioeconomic status of the people," said Nankhumwa.

"I have worked with almost all my Cabinet colleagues. I absolutely don't have any doubt about their abilities, and I know together we will deliver a people's government, which will comprehensively and sustainably respond to the daily requirements of Malawians. Some of us are relatively younger in terms of age and experience, but we are privileged because we will be able to tap from the experience of our more experienced colleagues," he said.

The Mulanje Central legislator said politics being what it is, cannot just be a stroll in the park, and said he expects that there will also be differences of opinion among themselves, which he said is healthy.

He said what is imperative is teamwork and focus to ensure that the laid down objectives are attained and sustained.

Nankhumwa said this country is at a critical juncture on its social and economic development path and that it is crucial that those that are appointed to serve in critical positions such as Cabinet Ministers understand that theirs is a higher calling to be servants of the people, and to always put national interests ahead of their personal interests.

"Experience has taught us that many duty bearers are easily swayed from their terms of reference due to the effects of power, but that is exactly what we should try to resist as Ministers. I believe we can do that; I believe we will do it," he said.

Nankhumwa's unifying and reasonable voice may prove extremely important at this crucial moment when this country is going through some turbulent political times following the disputed May 21 tripartite elections.

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