Ex-IMF Africa Chief says ready to join President Banda

Malawi’s former finance minister Goodall Gondwe says he is ready to serve President Joyce Banda and help fix the fragile  economy.

“I have done this before and this won’t be anything new because when I joined late President Mutharika I was not a member of DPP until after 18 months,” said Gondwe, who served as finance minister and presided over a near double digit growth, dropped inflation to single digits and earned Malawi debt relief.

The former IMF vice president for Africa region was reacting to his former Party colleagues who announced at the press conference in Lilongwe earlier in the day that he [Gondwe] was joining President Banda’s People’s Party (PP).

Second Vice President for the former ruling party Dr Jean Kalilane, flanked by publicity secretary Nicolas Dausi, Treasurer General George Chaponda, and Patricia Kaliati, said that  Gondwe had informed the party that he was joining the PP.

“Hon Gondwe first met our interim President Peter Mutharika and explained that he was under pressure to serve government. After that, he met me face to face and told me that he was under a lot of pressure from donors and government to serve and help repair the economy,” Dr Kalilane said.

The DPP politburo said that they were not surprised that the President now wants Gondwe because the country’s economy is now in a mess.

“Inflation is very high, fuel and food prices have gone up and the devaluation is hurting everyone and now they are poaching our skilled people to help,” Kalilane said.

Chaponda, said government was being unfair and killing democracy poaching DPP members disclosing that they had approached the PP to discuss a Government of National Unity which they rejected.

“In DPP we saw this coming and that’s why we had proposed a Government of National Unity which the PP frustrated…,” Chaponda said.  

Gondwe, a former Africa head at the International Monetary Fund, yesterday admitted that some quarters in the donor community had made suggestions but was quick to point out that he was never under pressure.

“It’s not true that I was under pressure…no!  I already planned to retire and everyone in the party knew that even before Mutharika died and if I served in the current government I will not serving as a member of PP, or DPP, UDF or MCP but on my own and I hope people will understand that,” Gondwe said.

Gondwe’s decision is likely to have a negative impact on the former ruling party which is still recovering from the shock of losing its founder and leader early this year but the defection of Secretary General Wakuda Kamanga last week,  has no consequence on the party in the center’s rank and file.

Yesterday the DPP central region committee assembled over 10 MPs and 23 district governors to showcase that the party was still intact despite his defection.

“Kamanga may be gone, but he has gone alone because as you can see, all district committee leaders are intact because they have not gone with him,” said DPP regional Governor for the center  Frank Katundulo

Mutharika died in April this year and since then, the party has been hit by defections. He formed DPP after ditching the UDF,  party that supported his candidature, to stifle a challenge from his predecessor Bakili Muluzi.