Malawi President, Peter Mutharika, has moved into Mtumthama State Lodge in the capital Lilongwe awaiting maintenance of the Kamuzu Place (formerly known as New State House) which will be his official residence.
Former president Joyce Banda left Kamuzu Palace last week after Mutharika was declared winner of the May 2o presidential elections.
Her former press officer Tusekele Mwanyongo confirmed Banda was in Nkhatabay and “would not return to Kamuzu Palace.”
Kamuzu Banda, Malawi’s founding president, spent only 90 days in the palace which took 20 years to build and cost $100m.
With its 300 air-conditioned rooms, it is set in 555 hectares (1,332 acres) of land outside the capital.
When Bakili Muluzi came to power in 1994 he refused to live there, condemning its “obscene opulence”. Instead, he used the Sanjika Palace in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre.
The costly palace housed parliament until Muluzi’s hand-picked successor late Bingu WA Mutharika evicted parliament by arguing that the building had originally been built as a presidential residence.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Surveys is yet to find a retirement home for Banda.
The ministry has since identified one for former vice-president Khumbo Kachali in Lilongwe’s Area 43.
By law, former presidents and their vice-presidents are entitled to government housing and other benefits until death, but they can lose some of these entitlements if they get back into active politics.
According to law, former leaders are also entitled to medical care, security, vehicles and others.