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I will not stop ‘handouts’—Joyce Banda

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By Samuel Kalimira:

Former president Joyce Banda, who is also People’s Party (PP) leader, has insisted she would continue helping the needy.

Banda, however, said her help would come in the form of government social protection programme.

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Banda’s sentiments have come against the backdrop of Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu’s announcement of the effective date of the Political Parties Act which, among others, bars politicians from giving handouts.

The Act will be in operation from December 1 this year.

Speaking at Chibavi School Ground in Mzuzu City, where she conducted a rally on Sunday, Banda said assisting people is her way of life.

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She argued that the government has a mandate to assist its citizenry under what she described as social protection programmes which, she said, are also done in other parts of the world such as Europe.

“Let me tell you that when I was outside the country, I observed that leaders and well-wishers assist the needy. This is happening in Europe and other countries. What I see here in that many of you are languishing in poverty.

“I will continue supporting the needy. I will construct houses, distribute maize and cattle. I will not stop despite others insulting me because of that. The needy deserve assistance,” Banda said.

She said, if voted back into government, her assistance would be extended to religious leaders and chiefs.

But, speaking later in an interview, Banda clarified that her assistance will not be done during campaign but by the government once she is voted into power.

Banda also opened up on her meeting with leaders of other political parties ahead of the 2019 elections.

“The party leaders meetings were courtesy calls. Nothing political was discussed. Remember that I already said that the owners of the party, who are people at grassroots, will make a decision on whether or not to go into a coalition with any party,” Banda said.

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