Banda attends Queen’s jubilee concert, leaves jet in South Africa

Malawi President Joyce Banda arrived in London Monday to join other world leaders who have been invited to the celebrations of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne and later in the evening attended star-studded diamond jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace.

President Banda was accompanied to the concert- by the First Gentleman retired Chief Justice Richard Banda.

The First Malawi couple joined heads of states in Commonwealth countries at the live televised event which attracted special performances by Sir Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Will.i.am, Jessie J, JLS, Gary Barrow and Elton John.

Others were the veterans Sir Cliff Richard and Sir Tom Jones who got the crowds on their feet with renditions of classic songs from their repertoire.

Malawi First Couple capture on live Sky News coverage of Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral in London

President Banda will on Tuesday be attending the National Service of Thanksgiving that would be held on Tuesday at St. Paul’s Cathedral and later a luncheon at Westminster.

Meanwhile, the Malawi leader arrived in London-Heathrow airport on a British Airways. She had left on controversial presidential jet from Lilongwe on Sunday.

Presidential press secretary Steve Nhlane confirmed to Nyasa Times in London that the presidential jet was left in South Africa.

He also confirmed that the President will proceed to Unites States  using private airliner  – ” hitchhiking” –  and would use presidential jet from South Africa to Malawi on her return.

Nhlane said there has been no decision yet on the plane.

He said President Banda’s position on the presidential jet “remains that a cabinet committee she has constituted will decide what is best for the people of Malawi.”

He said the cabinet committee has been mandated to “find the best viable option.”

The President expects the committee to recommend that the presidential jet be put on sell or lease the plane.

Banda is expected to hold talks with Commonwealth Secretary General Karmalesh Sharma, Baroness Lynda Chalker, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell.

On Thursday, the Malawi leader will address also the London think-tank the Royal Institute of International Affairs, at the Chatham House on “Malawi’s Policy and Priorities for a Globalized World.”

She will address host Malawians living in the United Kingdom at Claridges Hotel in London, Mayfare.

The meeting will start at 3.30pm to 4.30pm and is open to all Malawians.

President Banda will then proceed to Washington DC, USA, where she will attend a conference on development, democracy and security.

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