Malawi’s former president withdraws from the presidential race

Malawi former President Joyce Banda speaks after she formaly present her candidature statement for the People's Party (PP) to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) chair at the Comesa hall in Blantyre on February 5, 2019. Photo : News Central TV

Johannesburg, South Africa (ADV) – Malawi’s former president, Joyce Banda (68), has withdrawn from the 2019 presidential race penciled for May 21 as the country gears towards its Tripartite Elections, African Daily Voice can confirm.

Following her withdrawal from the race, Banda, who was Malawi’s first female president in 2012, endorsed the opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera who heads the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).

Banda first came to power in April 2012 following the sudden death of then president Bingu wa Mutharika.

At the time, she was serving as vice president with his death propelling her into the top office where she served until May 2014.

Speaking to AFP, Banda, who heads the People’s Party, confirmed her decision, saying: “Yes, it is true”.

In a joint statement, the two parties said they had begun talks in 2015, a year after Banda lost the presidency, partly as a result of a huge multimillion-dollar corruption case known as the “Cashgate” scandal.

Banda fled the country into self-imposed exile but returned to Malawi last year, saying the allegations against her were politically motivated. She has never faced any charges.

“Malawi is bigger than individuals,” added the joint statement from Chakwera’s Malawi Congress Party, the southern African country’s second largest, and Banda’s People’s Party said.

“As such we all have to set aside individual aspirations and embrace the greater and common good.”

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