Malawi President Joyce Banda who has been under fire from the coalition of civil society organisations to step down and pave way for an interim government after graft revelations lifted the lid on corrupt government officials, including some ruling People’s Party officials, has insisted she will not resign.
In an interview with an international media, President Banda said she will not leave and vowed to fight to get her mandate in next year’s elections, saying the ‘cashgate’ crisis is an “opportunity” to further clean house so her nation may one day stand on its own feet.
“Where my mind is right now, this is an opportunity and a wake-up call for us, to me as a leader,” Banda is quoted by The Christian Science Monitor.
“Sometimes when these things happen, you grow up, you find other ways. We must become creative, we are not going to be dependent forever. Perhaps this is a golden opportunity for us,” Banda said.
The Malawi leader said she is determined to fight corruption and seal loopholes in government which led to the financial looting at Capital Hill, insisting that, in fact, most of her government officials are horrified by the so-called Cashgate scandal.
“There’s no one who can come and say they are more traumatized than we are about this,” she said. “We have worked extremely hard to turn our country around – I have not slept for more than six hours for a year and a half.
“And we thought we had come out of the woods but then we find we are going backwards. There’s no way we can be looked upon as those that don’t care.”
Banda pointed out that tackling corruption has come at a personal cost – she has received death threats and could potentially be made to carry the can for it when Malawi goes to elections next year.
“For everyone I have arrested, I have lost a whole village of votes,” she said. “I did not realize this – I thought they would look at the issues but no, they say ‘but it’s our daughter that you have arrested.’
“Some of my colleagues on the continent say… ‘What did you think you were doing? You are a fool, especially doing this six months before your elections’.
“But I am prepared to get bruised because I just feel that this must stop and must stop now. We are finishing 50 years of independence [from Britain] this year. In 2014 we are going into the next 50 years. It is my wish that this rot remains in this millennium. That we go into the next one rejuvenated, clean, and ready to prosper.”
The influential Public Affairs Committee (PAC) a quasi-religious pressure group has since said it will not stop delegates at its forthcoming third all-inclusive stakeholders conference to call for the resignation of President Banda if the ongoing forensic audit being carried with help of British expertise will link the President to the cashgate scam.
But Banda has dismissed any suggestion of her involvement, and vowed not to step down wherever the evidence leads.
“Why must I resign? The presidents before this saw this and covered it up,” she says. “I must walk away because I was prepared to expose it? No, it has never entered my mind to resign.
“It can go as far as I can but I will not resign. If there’s anybody who thinks I must go, in only five months they can get me out through the ballot box.”
Their success however, will be limited, she believes.
“Smear campaigns will happen to me and it doesn’t matter. What is surprising me is the swelling of support in the rural areas lining up on the streets, cheering and congratulating me,” she said.
“So if I lose a little corner, it doesn’t matter. The whole nation seems to be rallying behind me and people are now leaving their parties to come and join our party.
“I might just win by a landslide. Let’s wait and see.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :