Former president Joyce Banda, who returns to Malawi this month after being outside the country since she lost the May 20 2014 elections, has said Peter Mutharika’s administration are plotting against her citing the attempt to implicate her in an alleged assassination plot and the Cashgate scandal.
Banda said there is a political vendetta against her with the Mutharika government trumping up charges one after another preparing her persecution when she returns home.
In an interview published by UK’s The Guardian newspaper, Banda cited the allegations that she ordered the assassination of Peter Mutharika when he was suspected of plotting a coup to prevent her from taking power when his brother late Bingu wa Mutharika had died of cardiac arrest in April 2012.
“I am being accused of murder—that I wanted to murder this President the time he was refusing to give up power to allow me take office,” Banda said in an interview which was conducted inSouth Africa with The Guardian’s Africa correspondent David Smith.
“It came from his mouth that the former president sent doctors to come and inject him the day he was kept at the police [station]. That is the one [accusation] that is more current and serious now, but I don’t care even about that because it’s not possible,” the UK newspaper quoted Malawi former president.
President Mutharika recently told a ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rally—commemorating the first anniversary of his arrest alongside several Cabinet colleagues—that government has evidence of an alleged attempt on his life while he was in police custody.
President Mutharika said he signed an affidavit with Inspector General of Police on the matter which he said will be produced at “an appropriate time”.
And Nyasa Times reported last week that Malawi Police has opened investigations into allegations that doctors were sent to examine and treat President Mutharika, then an opposition leader, when he was locked up at Lumbadzi Police Cell in Lilongwe.
The DPP leader claimed the doctors services were not sought and claims fake doctors sent to poison poison him while incarcerated at Lumbadzi Police Station.
Banda’s administration arrested Mutharika and then Cabinet colleagues Patricia Kaliati, Henry Mussa, Goodall Gondwe, Kondwani Nankhumwa, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Nicholas Dausi and former chief secretary to the government Bright Msaka on treason charges.
Meanwhile, government is also claiming former president Bingu wa Mutharika was killed, saying a fresh inqurity should be established pinning at Banda to face charges despite clear medical report that Bing died of cardiac arrest. Banda has not commened on the most recent accusations.
Cashgate and K92bn inaction
In The Guardian interview, Banda insists that she has no regrets over her handling of the Cashgate affair in which civil servants, businessmen and politicians were put on trial accused of exploiting a loophole in the government’s payment system to divert millions into their own pockets.
Banda said she asked the British government to fund a forensic audit, made publicly available online, that revealed 13bn kwacha (£19m) was stolen in three months during her administration. She also launched an investigation into Bingu’s last three years as president that uncovered the theft of a staggering K92bn (£135m).
“The tragedy is that the former president was alerted, just like I was, and didn’t take action,” she said. “That is the difference. Therefore, I shall always be proud of what I have done, regardless of what you journalists or anybody can say.”
The scandal prompted Britain and other donors to freeze direct aid, which made up 40% of the national budget.
Banda added: “The donors have been very clear: ‘We will come back but conduct a forensic audit into the K92bn, we want to know who stole this money.’ At the end of the day it is not the donors that have to be blamed. It is us as Malawians: we are not listening to what the donors want us to do. It is my opinion that that should happen, that the forensic audit should be conducted into the K92bn so we know where that money went.”
The former president maintained that she was warned that a crusade against corruption would ruffle feathers and make enemies, but she was determined to stay the course.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :