The former deputy speaker of Malawi's
national assembly presented her nomination papers to the Electoral Commission
Wednesday ahead of this year's general election. Loveness Gondwe's move makes
her the first female presidential candidate to represent a major political
party in the country's history. But critics describe her move as a political
stunt, claiming that this year's election is expected to be hotly contested
between incumbent President Bingu Wa Mutharika and former President Bakili
Muluzi. Gondwe is running on the platform of change from the old ways of
politicking, promising to improve the living standards of the average Malawian.
From Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, Loveness Gondwe tells reporter Peter Clottey
that she is the right person for the presidency after several male presidents
failed to alleviate the suffering of the Malawi population.
are so many things I would like to achieve. First and foremost, I would like to
create jobs for the youth. There are so many dropouts or sometimes those who
have finished their form fours or tertiary education, and they don't have
employment, and I would like to create employment for them. I would also like
to create employment to promote women, the maternal death rate is too high in
Malawi, and I would like to increase birth benefits," Gondwe said.
said there was need to encourage teachers to bring out the best in Malawi
civil servants are not getting paid well, especially teachers, and our
education is deteriorating because the teachers are not paid well. So I would
just double their salary and increase their rural allowance so that many of
those teachers would go to the rural areas and teach our children there. Again,
to also support our farmers because agriculture is the backbone of the Malawi
economy," she said.
said Malawians are demanding change in the way of doing things and claims she
is the right person to deliver the change they so demand.
are so many people, who would like to have change because we have had men. But
we have not achieved anything. There has been so much intolerance and as a
country we are not moving ahead. And I would like to come up with a different
approach to doing things and want to be the candidate with a difference, and
I'm sure so many people are ready to support me," Gondwe pointed out.
said although women usually don't run for the presidency, she is currently
enjoying a lot of support from both men and women who are demanding change.
am getting a lot of support and in my party there are so many male aspiring
candidates and women candidates. I've got a lot of support from both men and
women and of course, the youth. So those people who doubt me should wait and
see after the election in May," she said.
said she has been on the political scene for a long time, which she claims has
raised her profile ahead of the general election.
maybe because I'm not new in politics. I have been a member of parliament for
some time and this is going to be my third time in this election. The people
know how much I have done and how much I do fight for my country and they know
what type of leader I am. So I'm sure nobody can doubt my candidature or what I
would be as the first woman president of Malawi. And I have seen women
delivering more than men because women are not as corrupt as men are," Gondwe
said there was need for reconciliation after often heated public spats between
former President Muluzi and incumbent President Mutharika.
should forget our past and we should know that everybody has got his own
problems and we have got positives as well as challenges during both of their
terms of Bakili Muluzi and Bingu Wa Mutharika. But we should forge ahead as a
country without looking back because we are all Malawians and we should be
patriotic to our country. You know, Muluzi may have done something bad, but we
shouldn't really capitalize on that, and Bingu may also have done something bad
to the country, but we shouldn't capitalize on that," she said.
called on Malawians to help build the country.
foundation has already been made we should keep up building up our country as
Malawians and be united because this is one Malawi and one nation," Gondwe
is constitutionally barred from running as a presidential candidate after
serving two full terms in office from 1994 to 2004. The electoral commission,
however, is expected to test his challenge to rule next week, putting to rest
the controversy surrounding the former president's candidacy.