Malawi’s leading daily newspaper has given a critique to the announcement former president Joyce Banda that she was ready to run in next year’s presidential elections and reclaim the presidency she lost four years ago if nominated by her party.
Banda, 68, was Malawi’s first female president, serving from April 2012 to May 2014, but left the country when she lost power after being embroiled in a massive graft scandal in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.
She returned home in April and has since announced that she will contest at her People’s Party (PP) elective convention due in coming months.
However, The Nation in an editorial comment on Monday said Banda’s come back bid raises burning questions about succession plans in her PP.
It pointed out that in her four-year abscence, PP has been in ceaseless power wrangles which has seen “endless sacking and handpicking of party executives” which exposed a power vacuum that even her choosen interim heir Uladi Mussa – now defected to ruling DPP – could not fill.
“Her immutable zeal to regain the post she lost to the incumbent Peter Mutharika four years ago subtly offers a vote of no confidence in her potential successors, if any,” the paper said.
While it noted that Banda has a right to seek the presidential officer through a vote, the paper wondered what new ideas and game changer she has brought from globe-trotting for Malawians to make her the head of state once more.
“All politicians can claim their admirers – after holding 14 meetings with party leaders and family members – want them to come back to power. But this is not a compelling reason for Malawians to give away their vote,” the paper’s comment reads.
It reminded that Banda when she came third in 2014 elections with less than 20 percent of the total votes, she refused to accept the results.
The paper further stated that 25 years of democracy in Malawi, many political party founders in the country seem to misconstrue elections as a game of numbers, not the voice of the people.
“This cadre seizes any opportunity to appear on the ballot no matter how many times voters reject them.
“Dood leaders groom their successors. Recycling the same old faces seldom bring no new results.”
Banda founded the PP in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by President Peter Mutharika.
Her downfall in 2014 elections came in part from the so-called “Cashgate” scandal, the biggest financial misconduct in the country’s history.
Ministers, civil servants and businessmen were accused of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.
The scandal prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid worth around $150-million.
Banda says she did nothing wrong and that the allegations against her are politically motivated.
After she returned to the country in April, police said an arrest warrant against her was valid, but two months later she has been neither charged nor arrested.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :