Banda ‘readying for 2019 election’
BLANTYRE — Exiled Malawian former president Joyce Banda is reportedly preparing to come back to the southern African country in preparation for the 2019 elections, a report said yesterday.
According to Nyasa Times, Banda’s People’s Party (PP) said she was preparing to launch her political return soon.
Banda went on a self-imposed exile after losing the country’s election to her rival president Peter Mutharika in 2014.
“She will be coming, though I cannot say when but for sure she will vie for the presidency in the 2019 elections and she will win,” PP’s northern region governor Makwenda Chunga was quoted as saying.
This came amid speculation on president Mutharika’s health.
Reports on Saturday indicated that Mutharika’s prolonged stay abroad following the United Nations General Assembly in New York two weeks ago, had triggered illness rumours.
An influential quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee had since criticised the government for the continued “secrecy” surrounding the president’s continued absence. “Mutharika is a public figure, therefore, as a public figure Malawians have a right to know of [his] whereabouts,” the religious body was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, the Malawi government has reportedly expressed concern over the increase in the number of Malawians travelling to South Africa without proper travel documents.
According to Malawi24, Minister of Foreign Affairs Francis Kasaila said that Malawians should first obtain proper travel documents before going outside of the country.
Kasaila said that travelling without proper documents was illegal and could get those involved into serious trouble with foreign countries’ authorities.
“It is disappointing that the number of people being detained in South Africa at Lindela Camp is increasing, Malawians must know that it is illegal to stay in another country without proper documents,” Kasaila was quoted as saying.
News24 reported in April that at least 120 Malawians were deported from South Africa after being detained at the Lindela Immigration Removal Centre in Krugersdorp for living in the country illegally.
Public relations officer for the Malawian immigration department, Dedza James Tambulasi, said at the time that 900 more detainees were still awaiting their repatriation.
Hundreds of Malawians flock to South Africa for “greener pastures”. — Sapa