Banda ‘ready­ing for 2019 elec­tion’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

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

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