Malawi’s frugal independence day

While most countries use independence day as an excuse for over-the-top indulgence, Malawi’s new President Joyce Banda has a more modest interpretation. As her country prepared to celebrate its 48th year of independence from Great Britain, Banda made it clear that this year’s celebrations would be more, well…responsible. While celebrations under former President Bingu Wa ...

STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images
STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images

While most countries use independence day as an excuse for over-the-top indulgence, Malawi's new President Joyce Banda has a more modest interpretation. As her country prepared to celebrate its 48th year of independence from Great Britain, Banda made it clear that this year's celebrations would be more, well...responsible. While celebrations under former President Bingu Wa Mutharika were lavish and fun (for some), they were also expensive. And so, in keeping with her track record of fiscal responsibility --in contrast to her jet-setting, free-spending predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika -- Banda decided to save some party money (roughly $400,000) and host a national worship service instead.

Standing before a packed hall of worshipers in Blantyre she called for collaboration and diligence moving forward:

I thank God for the dedicated team of personnel he has given me. Together, we make very brilliant plans for the nation. But no matter how hard we might try, if those below us frustrate such plans, we won't achieve anything."

While most countries use independence day as an excuse for over-the-top indulgence, Malawi’s new President Joyce Banda has a more modest interpretation. As her country prepared to celebrate its 48th year of independence from Great Britain, Banda made it clear that this year’s celebrations would be more, well…responsible. While celebrations under former President Bingu Wa Mutharika were lavish and fun (for some), they were also expensive. And so, in keeping with her track record of fiscal responsibility –in contrast to her jet-setting, free-spending predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika — Banda decided to save some party money (roughly $400,000) and host a national worship service instead.

Standing before a packed hall of worshipers in Blantyre she called for collaboration and diligence moving forward:

I thank God for the dedicated team of personnel he has given me. Together, we make very brilliant plans for the nation. But no matter how hard we might try, if those below us frustrate such plans, we won’t achieve anything."

Hopefully she at least had desert.

Hillary Hurd is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy.

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