Patriots Forum dubs 2012 as one of the most defining in Malawi’s history. It is a year which brought numerous delicate moments of national importance.
Our focus though will dwell on the brief period from April 5 to 7.
In the exquisite interiors of the State House in Lilongwe, death struck. President Bingu wa Mutharika was no more.
In a bid to keep power within the defying distance of the constitution, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politburo hatched their own succession plan disregarding the provision for the Vice President as per constitutional requirements.
Malawians both at home and abroad were gripped with fear. Here was a political party with a parliamentary majority and at the height of its oppression of the citizenry devising ways to hold on to power through dubious means.
|THE MOMENT IT ALL BECAME CLEAR: Joyce Banda sandwiched by Odillo (left) and former police chief Mukhito during her first official briefing at her Area 12 residence|
It is heard that they planned to from a Presidential council which was going to facilitate new elections within a given period of time.
Our fear came from the fact that we would not trust the Police owing to the strong allegiance that Inspector General, Peter Mukhito, had with the ruling elite.
Within the dimension of power, phone calls were exchanged during the night of April 6 and morning hours of April 7 between then Vice President, Joyce Banda and some influential stakeholders.
The power card though was held by one man who was only few months in his new office; Army Commander Henry Odillo.
During the night of April 6, Odillo got a phone call from Joyce Banda.
She asked for assurance from the Army if they were going to leave the constitution intact.
Without haste Odillo gave the assurance.
In no time the State broadcasters, MBC TV and Radios, were sealed; the Vice President’s house in Area 12 was surrounded by a host of military personnel.
|MALAWIANS GRANT YOU THE POWER: Odillo handing the sword to signify transfer of power|
We breathed a sigh of relief because we knew where real power belonged.
The 12 hours that followed saw Joyce Banda being inaugurated as the country’s Head of State, Head of Government and Commander of the Armed Forces in an emotional ceremony at the Parliament building in Lilongwe.
That signified Africa’s second woman President after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
We will not be cosmetic with our opinion; without Odillo’s assurance and professionalism Malawi would have been in unimaginable political chaos by now.
|PATRIOTS FORUM WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2012|
Within the same vein, Odillo helped create history for Malawi, Africa and the world.
Joyce Banda’s ascendancy to the Presidency gives us pleasure as we cherish being the generation that has made it happen.
Patriots Forum is hereby pleased to single out Joyce Banda as our WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2012.
|Banda's maiden inspection of the guard of honor as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces|
Malawi, let’s put our hands together for Army Commander, General Henry Odillo and President Joyce Banda as our personalities of the Year 2012.
Patriots Forum, for the good of Mother Malawi always.