A new dawn of hope and inspiration has risen in “the warm heart of Africa”. Honourable Sosten Gwengwe has arrived at the right time when there has been a public outcry amongst people of his generation and even older for new blood in the Malawi political leadership. Thus, it came as no surprise when Her Excellency Joyce Banda, a leader who advocates youth empowerment, diversity, and rewards hard work chose the 36 year old as her running mate, shattering the high hopes of many seasoned politicians to become the second in command in the government of Malawi come the fourth tripartite elections that will be held on May 20, 2014.
There may be a number of theories as to why Her Excellency Joyce Banda picked this young man. What is clear is that Honourable Gwengwe is a well-educated, self-motivated, charismatic, yet humble, and a true technocrat. His resume paints a true picture of how brilliant and what an over achiever he is. Until the time of his appointment, not only was he a Member of Parliament for Dedza Central but also the Minister of Trade and Industry; positions he held since 2009 and 2012 respectively. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Finance) from Oxford Brookes University, he is a Charted Accountant (CIMA 2005) and he is an alumnus of the University of Malawi (The Polytechnic) where he graduated with Bachelor of Accountancy. He is also a family man with a wife and two children.
One of his defining moments was when he accompanied HE Joyce Banda to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama in March, 2013. What was supposed to be a 30 second introduction turned into a 12 minute conversation with the President of the United States. Honourable Gwengwe later admitted that he was star struck being in the presence of President Obama; but the young man held his own in what seemed to be a long conversation as he impressed the leader of the free world so much that President Obama asked HE Joyce Banda “how is your Minister of Trade doing” when the two leaders met at Mandela’s funeral in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In a nation where most college graduates are finding it hard to find employment, Honourable Gwengwe brings hope and reassurance that education and hard work can gain someone recognition and open tightly closed doors. He is a perfect candidate who can relate with the struggle of the youth of Malawi. Like HE Joyce Banda, Honourable Gwengwe believes in empowering the youth that he founded the Alice Gwengwe Girls Academy in Linthipe, Dedza, Malawi in his efforts to promote the education of young girls. In the political arena he has delivered in the National Assembly, chaired informal networks of young parliamentarians, and has inspired many to stand as councillors and parliamentarians in the upcoming elections.
As he moves to the top of the ladder, he leaves really big shoes to fill, but his appointment to become HE Joyce Banda’s running mate and potentially be the Vice President is a great gain for the Nation of Malawi.