Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda has again said she is not afraid of being arrested despite an outstanding warrant over corruption allegations, and that she is prepared to face even persecution.
Banda, only woman to lead Malawi, told a crowd of supporters at Kanengo in Lilongwe she was back in the country to stay after a four-year self-imposed exile.
“Ku Malawi ndabwera chonse ndipo chondifikila chindifikile [I am here to stay and ready to face whatever comes my way],” said Banda, the president of People’s Party (PP).
She was booted out of government during the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections after a two-year stint and she left the country after being embroiled in the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money at Capital Hill exposed under her watch in September 2013.
During her absence, Malawi Police Service (MPS) last August said it had obtained a warrant of arrest for Banda for her alleged role in Cashgate.
Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director general Reyneck Matemba recently said the bureau was still investigating Banda and that she has not been cleared.
However, speaking at Kanengo, Banda, who rose to the presidency on April 7 2012 in line with constitutional order following the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika, said she will not be cowed to submission because of threats of arrest.
“I am not afraid, tell them,” said the 68 year-old politician. “I have not done any wrong.”
Banda said she has a task to rebuild her PP and ensure to usher in a new era for Malawi after the next year’s watershed elections.
The former president said she had observed that poverty levels were still high four years President Peter Mutharika has been in power.
“Upon my arrival I was disappointed to see that there are still grass thatched houses in the country,” said Banda as government gurus continue to construct mansions from ill gotten funds.
Speaking through the sunroof opening of her vehicle, Banda waived at hundreds of people who thronged her vehicle to have a glimpse and hear what she had to say.
Banda has hinted she may run for presidency again.
“I will only talk about politics once I have consulted widely,” she said on her first rally since arrival from abroad.
“This country needs salvation. The country has been in the same state as it was when I left in 2014.”
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