My fellow Malawians wherever you are

Today is a memorable day in the history of our country. It is a milestone that we have clocked fifty (50) years since the attainment of our independence, and for this reason, I congratulate you all.

The past fifty (50) years have been a long winding road, teaching us great lessons and at the same time, making great strides and achievements. At the time of our independence in 1964, Late Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda, Father and Founder of the nation, laid the solid foundation that this country rests upon today and instilled in us the spirit of hard work and unity. We immediately embraced one-party rule, and as we continued with our political journey, in 1993 under Dr. Bakili Muluzi, we ushered in a new political dispensation of multi-party democracy. It gives me immense pleasure that our democracy is fast maturing, and that we are a good example to other countries in the region and beyond. In the twenty (20) years of our democracy, we have successfully conducted five (5) elections, all of which have been unanimously declared free, fair, peaceful, transparent and credible.

Along the way, between 2005 and 2009, Malawi achieved food security, thanks to sound agriculture policies of Late Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika administration. During this period, Malawi could not only feed itself, but had enough food reserves to serve other countries in the region. We also recall with pride, that it was during this same period, when Malawi witnessed the highest economic growth and stability.

Countrymen and women,

I take it as no mean achievement that in the first fifty (50) years of our independence, Malawians have had a female President, Dr. Joyce Banda. We commend the Late Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika for having taken the initiative and appointed her as the first ever female Vice President for our country. We will, therefore, go down in history as the first country in the SADC and second on the whole African continent, to have had a female president. This is ‘walking the talk’ of ensuring gender equality and women empowerment that is also one the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Above all, Ladies and Gentlemen, in the fifty years Malawians have proved themselves to the international community that we are a peace-loving, warm and friendly people, and no wonder we are referred to as the Warm Heart of Africa. We transact our political business amicably and diplomatically, and good neighbourliness is an important tenet of our foreign policy.

We have also demonstrated to the whole world that we are a peace loving nation by successfully holding in May, 2014 the Tripartite Elections, which despite logistical problems was acknowledged as free, fair, and credible.

My fellow Malawians,

Going forward, let us embark on the next fifty (50) years with renewed vigour and commitment to hard work, ethics, peace and unity for our country’s sustainable development. In Biblical terms, the number 50 symbolizes deliverance or freedom from a burden. Let us, therefore, join hands and have one common purpose of building our nation and lifting ourselves from poverty, which is by far our nation’s greatest enemy today. As a start, I have appointed a lean Cabinet that can be sustainable considering the level of our economy. My administration is also embarking on the civil and public sector reform, to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. This, coupled with sound economic policies that we will soon be implementing, will translate into prosperity and tangible development that we all are eager to experience.

We count on your support in taking our country on a development path. I am aware that most of you have not effectively contributed to this noble agenda in the past, partly due to restrictive policies that we back home implement. I would like to assure you that my Government has created a conducive environment to enable you play your part in the socio-economic development of the country, through your remittances, investments and skills transfer. I encourage a spirit of patriotism from you our bretheren, so that as you live in the Diaspora, your home country Malawi should feature highly at the back of your mind.

Once again, congratulations, and I wish you all God’s blessings as we commemorate our Golden Independence anniversary.

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