I will visit Malawi without fear, charity boss Woodworth

England based Malawian born humanitarian campaigner who helps thousands of orphans in Malawi through charity Friends of Mulanje (Fomo), Mary Woodworth, has expressed her happiness for ascendancy to presidency of Joyce Banda, saying she can now travel to the country without fear of persecution.

Her Excellency Banda, 62, became the country’s first female leader on April 7 after President  Bingu wa Mutharika  died of a heart attack on April 5.

Woodworth was being  persecuted  by the Mutharika government , pressing criminal charges  against her and snatching her British passport after jeopardising powerful business interests in a land dispute.

Woodworth: No fear of arrest now

She says the criminal charges against her were fabricated in order to stop her from reclaiming her land, which had been illegally taken over by the adjacent tea estate in 2008.

The Chitakale tea plantation is owned by Leston Mulli, managing director of Mulli Brothers Limited and one of Malawi’s most influential businessmen during the Mutharika regime.

Her lawyer Charles Mpaka was recently attacked with a petrol bomb on his car for representing her. No arrests were made.

But now that Mutharika era is gone since President Banda is now the Head of State, Woodworth says “this changes things a lot, it is just wonderful.”

She told Lancashire Evening Post newspaper :“People feel they have been rescued, he was oppressing them and, instead of crying, it is a relief.

“He did not listen to anybody, he just wanted to argue and quarrel with everybody. He just wanted Malawi for himself and not for the people.”

The Fomo boss won a court battle to have the land reinstated to her but she was arrested after returning to the land and thrown in jail, accused of a string of offences.

The case against her collapsed and she fled the country amid fears mobsters would attempt to kidnap her.

Woodworth, 47 says she will soon travel to Malawi without fear of arrest.

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