Malawiâ€™s former first lady Patricia Shanil Muluzi has joined the Peopleâ€™s Party (PP). She made the political statement on Saturday when she attended a PP rally, where she appealed to women to support President Joyce Banda for her to succeed.
Shanil also said she is under â€œintenseâ€ pressure from people in her area to contest as an MP in 2014.
In an interview on Sunday, the former first lady confirmed her attendance of the rally means she has officially joined PP.
Clad in her trademark chitenje, in black and orange colours, Shanil arrived in a black Mercedes Benz at Ntcheu Community ground where she was welcomed by Vice-President Khumbo Kachali and mobbed by some Cabinet ministers, PP officials and well-wishers before she was given a seat at a VIP podium.
In a post-rally interview, which questioned her presence at the function, a jovial Shanil said it was naturally expected that as a prominent woman, she would support a fellow woman to succeed as a Head of State.
Said the former first lady: “What would the world think of a woman of my calibre joining or supporting another party when we have a woman [as] Head of State? If President Joyce Banda succeeds, posterity will have a Malawian woman as an equal in society, but if she fails because women failed to support her, we [will] have all failed and we would have taken a Malawian woman back into dark ages.â€
On Sunday, she added that the United Democratic Front (UDF)â€”which she belonged to by virtue of her marriage to former president Bakili Muluzi â€”would not need her.
Said Shanil: â€œItâ€™s on record. I now belong to PP. I want to support my fellow woman.â€
Asked on where her new political journey would take her, Shanil on Saturday said she will make her ambitions known when she makes a decision, but confirmed that people in her home area, Balaka West Constituency, have been asking her to represent them in Parliament.
Kachali, who after the rally spent some time joking with the former first lady, told district PP officials led by chairperson Maxwell Chikwiya to welcome all people coming into the party.
The Vice-President also said this yearâ€™s budget marks a start of the path towards recovery after the mess created by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime and that though Malawians want a quick return to normalcy, the process will include sacrifices on the part of all Malawians.
During the rally, Chikwiya said Ntcheu has remained underdeveloped despite producing secretaries general for all major parties except for DPP. Notable Ntcheu politicians who have held such position include the late Muwalo Nqumayo and Chris Daza for the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Sam Mpasu and Kennedy Makwangwala for the United Democratic Front (UDF) and Henry Chibwana for PP.