It is now over two months since Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda, left the country for her international engagements. However, there has recently been no publicity on her activities or her whereabouts triggering rumours, including that she is avoiding a possible arrest over cashgate.
Rumour also has it that Banda is seeking to renew her United States visa so that she remains in the US on political asylum.
Banda’s Media Liaison Officer, Tusekele Mwanyongo disputes these claims.
He says the former President was still attending to various international engagements, including some related to the Joyce Banda Foundation International (JBFI) Africa Initiative.
“The former President is still on her philanthropy tour of duty. As you may be aware, apart from Malawi, her foundation has now extended its wings to other countries in Africa, including Kenya, South Africa,Uganda, DRC, Gabon, Liberia, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritania.
“JBFI Africa Initiative will focus on five priority areas—Wealth creation; Education for a girl child; Maternal Health and HIV/Aids; Leadership; and Rights—in these countries. She is preoccupied with ensuring that JBFI Africa Initiative achieves its intended objectives,” Mwanyongo told Nyasa Times on Friday in an email response to a questionnaire.
He indicated that the former President would be returning to Malawi “soon” but could not disclose the arrival date.
Mwanyongo declined to disclose the current whereabouts of the former President neither could he provide contact phone number (s), claiming he is not mandated to do so.
Similarly, Banda’s Public Relations Officer, Andekuce Chanthunya declined to share with Nyasa Times the former President’s phone numbers.
“Why do you want them? If you wish to interview her, may you please furnish us with a questionnaire, which I can send to Her Excellency for her consideration,” Chanthunya said in a telephone interview from Lilongwe.
Chief cashgate suspect, Oswald Lutepo, recently implicated Banda as being the main beneficiary of cashgate. While admitting he indeed swindled the state of billions of Kwacha, Lutepo claimed in a Zodiak Broadcasting Station interview that he was only a conduit who personally delivered the loot to Banda during her reign as President.
But in a statement issued in response to Lutepo’s claims, the former President claimed she has in possession “written confessions” by some cashgate scandal suspects that they were under pressure from some unnamed state agents to implicate her in the scandal.
This information, according to the statement, would be made public at an “appropriate time”.
“(Former President) Banda dedicated her efforts to ensuring that all people involved in cashgate face the law. The former President would like to reiterate that she has at no time during her tenure or at any other time, been involved in cashgate,”read the statement in part.
“She would like to encourage the country’s leadership to concentrate more on dealing with the worsening political, social and economic situation, than listening to a Cashgate suspect who has so far proved to be unreliable, untrustworthy and susceptible to manipulation,” it continued.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), through its publicity secretary, Francis Kasaila, has denied coercing suspects to implicate former President Banda in the scandal for whatever reasons.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :