Chakwera presents public speaking award to Mozambican national

Malawi president, Lazarus Chakwera, on Friday presented the inaugural ‘Chakwera Prize for Public Speaking’ to the first winner, Joao Ortega Teixeira Amone, a Mozambican national.

In his speech, the first Malawi citizen said he believes in the power of citizens speaking freely to their leaders, because that is a freedom he has enjoyed throughout his life, not only as a citizen, but also during his time as a Member of Parliament.

Chakwera said giving an ear to the voices of ordinary citizens, reminds him whose interests he is here to serve and whose problems he is here to solve, hence the idea to establish the ‘Chakwera Prize for Public Speaking’ competition in 2021 during his tenure as SADC Chairperson.

He said the award, which comes with a $4000 cash prize courtesy of NBS Bank and Simso Malawi, aims at soliciting views of young people from across the African continent about their aspirations for the Continent.

“I established this prize because the decisions that we make in Governments across Africa today will determine what kind of future Africa’s youth will face. My second reason for establishing this prize is that I believe in the power of citizens speaking freely to their leaders.

“This is a freedom I myself have enjoyed throughout my life, not only as a citizen, but also during my time as a Member of Parliament, when I would regularly present the interests and concerns of citizens to those in power. I still believe in that today, which is why I have done everything I can to ensure that I never insulate myself to the voices of ordinary citizens, because it is those voices that remind me whose interests I am here to serve and whose problems I am here to solve,” said Chakwera.

While emphasising on his commitment towards listening to citizens’ voices, the president said on Friday afternoon he went across Lilongwe city where he saw and heard the frustration that Malawian motorists are experiencing in the midst of the current fuel crisis.

Chakwera added that from what he has heard and saw from the frustrated motorists, he is now fully aware of who amongst government institutions should he hold accountable for failing to update Malawians about the status of the fuel situation.

“It is important for me to hear these voices, for it allows me to know who it is in my Administration I need to hold to account for failing to create an organized system for managing the equitable and timely distribution of the short supplies of fuel until the crisis is resolved, and who it is in my Administration I need to hold to account for keeping Malawians in the dark about how, where, and when they can access fuel without having to run around town for the product with no confidence of finding it.

“And so, I am grateful for the people’s voices, and I am committed to always hold those voices as having more weight in my decision making than any other voices. As far as I am concerned, to listen to the voice of citizens is to listen to the voice of my first Advisors,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chakwera has praised Teixeira Amone who has walked away with $4000 (approximately K4 million) for his courage clarity, and passion of his delivery and has called on all African citizens to continue using their voice to speak truth to power, claiming to speak is power.

He added that as one of Africa’s incumbent Heads of State, he feel duty-bound to create a platform for Africa’s youth to have their voices heard at the highest level, so that their ideas regarding the future being created now, may be taken into account.

Joao Ortega Teixeira Amone’s winning speech, which was submitted in Portuguese, was about the need for Africans to work and stand together as one on the world stage in order to protect Africa’s resources from exploitation and abuse.

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