Peekaboo! Joyce Banda arrives in Malawi, denies 4-year exile tag

Hundreds of opposition People’s Party (PP) supporters on Saturday turned out to welcome Malawi’s former president, Joyce Banda, who has been abroad for four years.

Joyce Banda is back: Will she give the signal on 2019 polls?

PP supporters welcoming JB

PP supporters welcoming Banda at Chileka Airport

Security has been tight, especially on road between the Blantyre commercial city and Chileka International airport.

Banda and her husband retired Chief Justice Richard Banda, waved the crowds  on arrival sporting her signature attire of a wrap on her shoulder and had dark glasses.

The former Malawi leader addressed reporters at airport’s VVIP lounge where she rebutted claims that she  fled the country in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

Banda — only the second woman to lead a country in Africa —  who landed  at midday (1000 GMT) on a flight from Johannesburg, explained that after losing elections she went to a summit in United States and returned home.

She said after her two-year presidency she had to go US to have residency at the university that enables democratically elected former African leaders to spend up to two years at sharing insights on contemporary trends in Africa.

Fondly called JB, the former president said other African former presidents have undergone similar activity citing Rupiah Banda of Zambia who had a stint  as the eighth African President-in-Residence at Boston University’s African Presidential Center.

She said the purpose of staying abroad was to give “space” to her successor to govern, saying even in Malawi former president Bakili Muluzi left the country and stayed for long in United Kingdom at the start of his handpicked successor late Bingu wa Mutharuka.

“So I was not in exile, I had work to do and I have written a book on women empowerment after a research,” said the activist  and philanthropist  Banda, the first female to serve as president of Malawi.

As the second female to lead an African nation,  Banda helped turn her country’s economy around and has been a longtime champion of women’s rights.

As president of Malawi from 2012-2014, Banda was credited with turning around the nation’s ailing economy. Under the economic reforms she instituted, Malawi’s rate of economic growth rose from 1.8 percent in 2012 to more than 6.2 percent in 2014. In that same time span, Malawi’s operational industrial capacity rose from 35 percent to 85 percent.

Banda also repealed a number of laws which had weakened democratic institutions, infringed on civil liberties and restricted freedom of the press. The health of women and children was a priority in Banda’s presidency. She established the Presidential Initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood, which helped drop the maternal mortality rate in Malawi.

Before becoming president of Malawi, Banda served as the nation’s vice president, foreign minister, minister of gender and child welfare, and as a member of its Parliament. As minister of gender and child welfare, she championed enactment of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill in 2006, which provided the legal framework to support the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls.

Since leaving office, Banda serves on the boards of Nutrition International Canada and the Tana High Level Forum of Peace and Security in Africa. She is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders and a distinguished fellow with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Center for Global Development.

The founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation International in 1997, Banda continues her work with the foundation today to transform villages in Malawi by supporting women’s economic empowerment, education, maternal health and HIV/AIDS programs, leadership training and human rights. She also serves as a panelist and motivational speaker at international conferences and forums.

Banda’s work has drawn many honors. She was named one of the world’s most powerful black women by Forbes magazine in 2013 and 2014; one of the most influential people in the world by Time and Forbes; and one of the most inspirational women in politics by CNN.

Her degrees include a bachelor’s in gender studies from Atlantic International University and a master’s in leadership from the Royal Rhodes University of Canada. She also is the recipient of two honorary doctorates: one in economics from Jeonju University of South Korea in January 2013 and the second in education from Wheelock College in May 2015.

There were fears that police would arrest Banda on arrival after it claimed there was a valid warrant of arrest.

But Banda’s spokesperson, Andekuche Chanthuya, said  the warrant for arrest does not scare JB.

“Dr. Joyce Banda is not afraid or intimidated by their announcement that their warrant of arrest is still valid because all Cashgate cases were investigated and prosecuted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau,” Chanthuya said. “Now, the head of the Anti-Corruption Bureau has made it clear that JB [Joyce Banda] is not linked to any Cashagate, whether as a beneficiary or as a masterminder.

Banda, who came to power in 2012 when Bingu wa Mutharika, the current president’s brother, died in office is scheduled to address a political rally in Zomba where she will explain her next political move.

JB founded the People’s Party (PP) in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by Mutharika.

Malawi will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May 2019.

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Watematema Mutu
Guest

Mwasowa zonena. Amayi anatha limodzi ndi chipani chawo ngati makatani!

Fiona Brown
Guest
Fiona Brown

Joyce Banda’s self imposed was nothing more than an opportunity to no answer for cashgate! Now that she feels dust has settled and facing a not so friendly Trump administration, where could she go? Yes, we want to know about cash from the selling of the plane. Malawian need to wake up and know that Malawi belongs to them and not people in office! These leaders work for you, not you working for them! Malawians need to wake up please!

#DzukaniAmalawi
Guest
#DzukaniAmalawi

ogooooo!!!! another cashgate is coming!!!! Maybe I should optimistic for once and dare think the billion of dollars siphoned from government coffers will miraculously be placed back where it belongs. We all can do with some hope.

Kholowa
Guest
Kholowa

Mzimayi wabodza iwe chakudya cha pa malawi ndi super padziko lonse lapansi angalole ku makadya nkhuku zotsupula ndi jik ku usa ali olemela ndani? Moyendamu timakhala poti tilibe option pa malawi, ukanangopepesa kwa amalawi osati kufikila kunamanso apa poti even mwana amadziwa kuti JB anathawa mulandu wakuba.After all iwe sioyamba kubako all malawi presidents ndi mbava already, and most african presidents are like that so dont fool us 2yrs for a honey moon is to much to a leader like you! Tikhale chete tizione umo mwazi sovela ndi a pulezidentiwa mkuja uno!

Sasamba
Guest
Sasamba

Welcome back Mama, chiongolero,
Yendatsani dziko lidachita ngozi kale kale , we are waiting for the signal Mama

Tenzi Mzungu
Guest
Tenzi Mzungu

A Malawi mumatha kulemba zizungu za bwino koma you like commenting without evidence. If cash gate began in 2005 who was convicted of it apart from cashgaters of JB era. There was theft yes and even the time of Kamuzu. But the cash gate we know began during the time of JB. Cash gate simply means coordinated effort by the government officials, party officials and individuals to steal money from public pulse. After all it was JB defense to implicate DPP in the scandal. She ordered investigations to began from 2005 in order to divert attention. On the issue of… Read more »

TEACHER
Guest

Oooh God please Remove the scales of blindness from the eyes of my fellow MALAWIANS so that we can see that BUSHIRI IS the only Answer to the hardships the country is facing otherwise We will regret like never before in human history PLEASE PAC CHIEFS CSOS CHURCH LEADERS CHIEFS PARENTS AND YOUTHS INVITE BUSHIRI TO COME AND HELP GOVERN THE COUNTRY AS WAS THE CASE WITH KAMUZU THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN IS NOW MAY GOD BLESS OUR LAND

Duli
Guest
Duli

Abiti kazhigheti Ntila sapano

Shadow
Guest
Shadow

Ndale zibebe sopano, Welcome! !!!!!!Mphamvu uuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Munthalika
Guest
Munthalika

I think she owes us an explanation on the sale of the presidential jet

Fiona Brown
Guest
Fiona Brown

Fiona Brown

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