The opposition People’s Party (PP) says former President Joyce Banda, currently in self-imposed exile abroad, has a well-founded fear to face humiliation and persecution from President Peter Mutharika-led government.
Banda has been travelling around the globe undertaking international assignments for her charity foundation.
However, government has been calling her to come home , branding her as a fugitive and h as been trying to implicate her in Cashgate—the systematic looting of public funds at Capital Hill by civil servants, politically aligned businesspeople and others that unravelled in September 2013 when JB was president of Malawi.
But Banda has argued that many unsubstantiated accusations and allegations by the government against the former president could be a precursor to much more sinister motives and “lives could be at stake.”
In a statement, PP’s spokesperson Ken Msonda said Banda has a well founded fear of facing persecution is she return to Malawi as ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has an appetite to attempt on her life.
“Suffice to say the DPP administration has a history of harassing former presidents; Dr. Bakili Muluzi is being tossed around like a toy, Dr. Cassim Chilumpha is under house arrest since 2006, Rt Hon Khumbo Kachali is not even recognized if it weren’t for him being PP Member of Parliament people would have forgotten about him.
“Malawians don’t know where Dr. Justin Malewezi is, so how sure are you that Dr. Joyce Banda will be respected when she returns home? You want her to return home just to be harassed and embarrassed by the DPP ruthless regime? Please give her space to enjoy her retirement!” said Msonda.
Retired chief justice Richard Banda is on record to have penned a letter bringing to the attention of the international community and donors attempts by the DPP government to victimise his wife, former president Joyce Banda (JB) for political reasons.
“Malawians remember very well that when Her Excellency Joyce Banda was Vice-President, the DPP government, under the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, withdrew part of her security detail. A few days after the withdrawal of security, in November 2010, the Vice-President’s official vehicle…was hit on the side she sat at Kanengo as she returned from Kamuzu International Airport. Luckily, she survived because she had used a different vehicle,” former chief justice wrote.
He said his family is “ grossly concerned” that JB’s own life “might be in danger.”
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila who is also foreign affairs minister said government has no intention to persecute her.
“There is no need,” he said.
Kasaila said it is not DPP that insinuated about JB’s involvement in Cashgate but her former People’s Party members who are implicating her.
But Banda claims the DPP government pressurised cashgate convicts to deliberately implicate the former president.
Banda also points to an allegation President Peter Mutharika made at Maula Prison that the former president had planned to kill him when he was arrested on alleged coup plot charges in March 2013. Without substantiating his claim, Mutharika said fake doctors had been hired to poison him while in police custody and that he was shown sworn affidavits of the alleged fake doctors.
In the letter to the international community, Banda makes much of a string of outbursts by minister of local government Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is on record as saying CCTV footage was available to substantiate claims by cashgate-convict Oswald Lutepo, showing the latter handing over cash to JB.
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