Lucius Banda downplays MSCE issue, ‘I can speak English’

Malawi top musician-turned-politician Lucius Banda has hinted that he will seek to bounce back in parliament by contesting in 2014 elections at Balaka North  constituency on ruling People’s Party ticket, but downplayed the issue of academic qualifications.

Banda lost his seat when he was sentenced to 21 months in jail with hard labour for faking his Malawi School Certificate for Education (MSCE) certificate.

But Banda, who has come out of political retirement, said he could not comment on whether he has attained the MSCE certificate or not.

Lucius Banda: Wants to return to Parliament

On one of the Malawi’s best known talk shows, Capital FM’S Straight Talk, host Rhodes Msonkho probed the musician on the forged certificate which earned him a prison sentence but he claimed it was politically motivated.

“If you remember what was done immediately after I took a bold step to move the [motion in parliament proposing] impeachment procedures [to impeach the president] I was arrested on forgery charges,” said Banda.

He said late president Bingu wa Mutharika declared “it was tit-for-tat.”

But host Msonkho , who is emerging as Malawi’s Stephen Sackur  (who presents HARDtalk on BBC)  being reliable, confident and exact in his inquiries,  quizzed Banda that he was found  guilty by the court after due process of the law in the forgery case.

Responding, Banda said: “I think you also heard I was acquitted by the High Court of the same charges.”

But Msonkho pressed the musician-cum-politician to explain if he has now attained MSCE certificate so he can seek parliamentary seat.

“I am surprised that you are a journalist and you don’t know the laws of Malawi,” said Banda.

Msonkho probed Banda to explain what the laws say. Banda explained that in the Constitution the entry point for contesting a parliamentary seat is any Malawians who has attained the age of 18, is able to speak English and has no conviction on moral turpitude in the last seven years.

“You think speaking English is a simple thing?” Banda said.

Msonkho insisted to know if he has the MSCE certificate but Banda refused to comment.

“I think that’s personal and I have a right to remain silent,” he said.

Banda in the interview said he is not a fortune seeker by joining the PP.

“I have never looked for fortune in politics. It is the spirit, the dreams that I have for my area, Balaka north that takes me into politics,” he said.

Banda declared: “I will not sell my conscious. If they  (PP) go astray, I will go out.”

The musician hinted that he will contest the parliamentary seat in 2014 elections, saying “PP is a vehicle that will help to achieve what I need in Balaka North.”

Banda shot to fame when he released music denouncing the dictatorship of the late Hastings Kamuzu Banda.

The musician continued his music crusade by criticising late Mutharika when he was taking the country back to dictatorship.

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