Malawi’s former President and People’s Party leader, Joyce Banda, has hinted that she is quitting frontline politics after the May 21 elections to continue with her philanthropy work but will first add her weight to propel opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera who heads the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to power.
Banda, who was Malawi’s first female president in 2012, has withdrawn from the 2019 presidential race, endorsing Chakwera and hopes he wins the elections so she moves on.
“Post elections, I will continue with my international work at the nine boards where I serve, international speaking engagements and here in Malawi I will continue my work of 30 years in our rural communities, particularly with those living in abject poverty,” said Banda through a statement.
Banda’s PP initially entered into an alliance with Vice President Saulos Chilima’s UTM but the coalition lasted three days and she went on to present her nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Elections.
On endorsing Chakwera, Banda said that, “Yesterday I held a meeting with Peoples Party National Executive Committee Members to discuss yet again the view that I have advocated for since I returned home a year ago and that is to say that the opposition needs to unite and work together. I strongly believe that there is strength in unity.
“In my acceptance speech at the convention on the 30th of August, 2018, I reiterated that it was important for the People’s Party to get into a coalition with other parties. I am grateful to God that after a whole morning discussion we unanimously agreed to my proposal to withdraw my candidature and to endorse Hon Lazarus Chakwera,” Banda said.
Now 68, Banda first came to power in April 2012 following the sudden death of then president Bingu wa Mutharika.
At the time, she was serving as vice president with his death propelling her into the top office where she served until May 2014
She then thanked PP members and the general public for supporting her decision.