Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda is clear to run for presidency in the May 21 Tripartite elections despite a ‘ghost warrant’ as the State has never even once invited her for questioning on corruption allegations with no objective material evidence linking her.
The Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it had no solid evidence against the former president, partially clearing her name.
Banda, 69, left the country in 2014 when she lost power and took a residency as a distinguished fellow at the Wilson Centre in Washington, US but Malawi government in her absence claimed she was wanted and arrest warrant was issued in relation to the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money uncovered in 2013 when she was still president.
But since her return last year, authorities have never quizzed her and the warrant of arrest remains “ghost” as Malawi’s Institute of Public Opinion Research (Ipor) revealed that Banda is the “most trusted” political leader in the southern African country.
Banda will attempt to wrestle power from President Peter Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to whom she lost the 2014 elections.
Despite the smear of Cashgate, neither the Baker Tilly audit report by British firm RSM (formerly Baker Tilly) nor any other evidence has been produced to implicate Banda, despite wild allegations thrown by her accusers.
The scandal was revealed following the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo in September.
Mphwiyo is reported to have been on the verge of exposing a corruption ring when unknown gunmen shot him outside his home on 3 September. He survived and had specialist treatment in South Africa.
Joyce Banda has maintained that she took a “political risk” to launch a fight against corruption five months before the 2014 elections.
She publicly claimed that Mphwiyo’s shooting was “a planned and targeted attack” aimed at silencing him and Banda’s government in the fight against high levels of corruption and fraud.
Before she came to power, Banda was a celebrated civil society advocate and during her two-year administration from 2012 to 2014, an imminent economic collapse was averted through the implementation of vital economic reforms, the country’s economic growth rate rose from 1.8% in 2012 to 6.2% in 2014 and draconian laws were repealed, strengthening the rule of law.
In healthcare, the Banda administration promoted safe motherhood initiatives and maternal mortality rates were slashed from 675 per 100,000 live births to 460.
At the time of her presidency, Joyce Banda was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by various publicationsFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :