Malawi President and leader of People’s Party (PP) Joyce Banda today announced that Minister of Industry and Trade Sosten Gwengwe will be her running mate in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The President, who left Lilongwe on Wednesday evening for Blantyre, is expected to submit her nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials tomorrow [Friday] at the Comesa Hall in Blantyre.
Addressing the press at Sanjika Palace this evening President Banda said she has picked Gwengwe because she believes the youth are not the leaders of tomorrow but today.
Said Banda: “As a nation we’ve made a decision that Malawi comes first. The decision to come up with my running mate was guided by such a philosophy. I am pleased to announce to the nation that I have chosen honourable Sosten Gwengwe…as my running mate.
The youths are not leaders of tomorrow but today. We need to recognise the youth and work with them. There’s so much that has been said about him. Some even said he is a ‘baby’. I have no doubt in Gwengwe. He is ready than other people you knew.”
On why she did not pick Malawi’s Vice President Khumbo Kachali who is also first President of the ruling PP, President Banda said she had an agreement with Kachali to serve together for two years.
“It was an agreement of two years and yesterday I thanked for the job that we have done together,” she said describing their relationship as good.
Gwengwe, born 20th May 1977, to Mr Alfred and Alice Gwengwe, hails from Kaphuka in Dedza. He holds an MBA and is a chartered accountant.
He is married to Enelles and is father of two.
In his acceptance speech Gwengwe described himself as an ambassador for the youth and he was ready to serve. He pledged not to let the president down and the youth who look up to him now.
Gwengwe also promised to help the president in implementing a private sector reform.
Earlier sources had told Nation Online that Gwengwe has long been groomed for the position, beginning with his shift from deputy minister to MG3 ministerial vehicle registration when he was appointed Minister of Industry and Trade.
Conspicuously missing at the event was Malawi’s Vice President Khumbo Kachali who is also first President of the ruling PP.
Asked on Wednesday on whether the President has given him a hint on the choice of running mate, Kachali toldNation Online: “I talk to the President on several issues, but I cannot begin saying what we discuss. That will be unlawful, but let’s wait and see. We’ll make a statement later.”
A source at Parliament told The Nation on Tuesday that Gwengwe resigned from the position of MP. The law requires presidential candidates or their running mates to quit any public office they hold before submitting their nomination papers.