Lucius Banda back in frontline politics, PP member

Malawi’s music czar, Lucius Banda has announced his return to front line politics and is a member of ruling People’s Party (PP).

Soldier, as he is popularly known in the music industry, told Nyasa Times in an exclusive interview that he did not bow out of politics out of his own will but rather he was a political victim of late president Bingu wa Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime.

Nyasa Times developed an interest in the musician, after he was spotted at the Chileka International Airport on Thursday, where he joined thousands of Malawians in welcoming President Mrs. Joyce Banda on her arrival from overseas trips.

Lucius captured with former MP Rodney Chanthunya at Chileka Airport welcoming President Banda. Photo by Taonga Botolo/Nyasa Times

Asked on whether he is a member of PP or not, the musician told Nyasa Times that he has always been a member of the party since its infancy days.

He further added that he has chosen to remain quite all along because he is a mere grass root member of one of the party’s Balaka North area committees.

“I have been a member of the PP before it was even registered; ask the senior officials they know about that, so when you ask me about my involvement with the party, I can ably say yes, I’m a bona fide member. All along, I have been an underground supporter because I hold no position in the party apart from being a mere member of the party’s area committee in Balaka North.

“In the few years I have been out of politics, I have learned one or two lessons and I will use the opportunity to help the President and her government to develop Malawi,” said Banda who lost his parliamentary seat in 2007 over a case of MSCE certificate forgery case.

The 2014 race

He therefore disclosed that he is willing to represent people of his area only if he is nominated through party primaries and not otherwise.

Banda explained that he regards the party as a big institution, as such; he is available to serve it in any capacity at grass root level.

“Politics is all about serving the people, so if people of Balaka North want me to represent them as their MP, well I will accept, if they want me to be an area chairman I will even serve with all my strength.

“I’m comfortable being just a member because all of us cannot be leaders and all of us cannot be NEC members neither can we all be ministers, the party is being led by Mrs. Joyce Banda and we’re her followers,” added Banda in a sort of philosophical approach.

Vindicated on impeachment

Meanwhile, the outspoken musician who rose to fame during the dictatorial regime of Dr. Kamuzu Banda, in the early 90’s with his hit ‘Mabala,’ therefore defended his previous role in the National Assembly when he moved a motion asking the house to amend impeachment procedures.

Said Banda: “When  I was heading to the prison in Zomba, I remember telling the media that my arrest was the beginning of the process. I was called all sorts of names after I moved that motion. My family went through torture and public ridicule but five years later almost every Malawian joined me in seeking for an end to the Mutharika regime, I was proved right.”

JB ‘God sent’

Asked to comment on close to the two months the president has been in office, Banda (not related to president) described ascendancy of the president as turning point for Malawi as a country saying, “she is somebody I have admired throughout my life. She is a brave fighter, full of vision. When I was in prison she took care of my children at Joyce Banda foundation school, mind you by then she was a senior DPP member and cabinet minister and braved calls from Mutharika and his allies to expel my kids from her school but she supported me and my family throughout.”

“She is somebody I can describe as God sent and it is up to us to either give her good advice or spoil her, otherwise she is on right track. The economy is slowly picking up. Public appointments are meritorious, if I’m asked if she is the one to take us to Canaan the answer is yes,” stated Banda.

The musician, according to reports, has remained close to people of Balaka North despite losing his seat, especially through his foundation, that assists school going children by providing them with materials and school fees.

During the 2009 polls, his wife Sunganani tried unsuccessfully to wrestle the seat back from DPP.  Lucius served in the former ruling UDF and served in various portfolios before quitting the party saying he wanted to concentrate on his music career. He was also special aide to former president Bakili Muluzi in the run to the 2009 polls.

When Muluzi’s son Atupele, now Economic Planning Minister, was arrested he came to the rescue of President Banda by giving her a lift to Maula prison after police officers had blocked the then Vice President’s convoy to enter the prison premises.

Meanwhile, Malawians are anxiously waiting for the musician-turned-politician’s 17th album titled Time due for release soon.

His previous Life album courted controversy as it tore the Mutharika regime to pieces over its poor economic policies and bad governance. This resulted in state owned broadcaster banning his music.

Welcoming President Banda at Chileke. PP’s treasurer general Brown Mpinganjira. Photo by Taonga Botolo, Nyasa Times

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