Former president Joyce Banda’s much-anticipated return to Malawi will be delayed, her office has said.
According to Banda’s spokesman, Andekunye Chanthunya, the delay has been caused by “serious security concerns “ following Malawi Government’s delay in providing a secure and decent house in a secure locality for the former Head of State and her family.
“In August 2015, the Ministry of Lands and Housing invited officials from her office to Lilongwe to identify a suitable house for the former President. The exercise was jointly carried out by the Ministry’s officials, officials of her office and His Excellency Chief Justice Richard Banda, RTD, the spouse of the former President. The house was indeed identified. However, one week ago, the Malawi Governmenta dvised Her Excellency’s office that the house is no longer available,” Chanthunya said in a statement released Thursday morning.
Chanthunya said the Malawi Constitution provides for retirement benefits for the former Head of State and former Vice President.
“These includes salary, a house in a safe and secure place, and personal security detail. None of these have been accorded to Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda since she left office in May 2014,” he said.
He said the former president request the government to respect and uphold the rule of law and provide Banda with her salary for 17 months, transport, adequate personal security and a secure home.
“Many Malawians, in general, and Her Excellency’s family in particular are even more concerned that recently, the Malawi Government withdrew security apparatus from her private residence in June 2015.
“This happened while there is total breakdown of security in Malawi where senior officers of governance institutions, such as Mr. Issa Njaunju of ACB, are murdered and police officers are killed in broad daylight.,” reads the statement in part.
It adds: “Malawians and the international community may recall that when she was State Vice President, Her Excellency’s security detail was drastically reduced and weakened in October 2010. On November 19, 2010, one month later, her official vehicle, a Mercedes Benz salon, registration number MG 2, was involved in a mysterious road accident at Kanengo in Lilongwe. This accident is well documented in Malawi.”
Chanthunya said the decision to weaken Banda’s security detail this time round and attempts by the DPP administration to victimize her in various forms are reminiscent of the 2010 events.
“History may be repeating itself here!”
Banda was scheduled to arrive in Malawi on Tuesday, November 2, 2015 through Chileka Airport in Blantyre around mid-day on a South African Airways flight number SA3172.