Forum for National Development (FND) has told Malawi’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government to speed up the process of providing a befitting and secure house for former president Joyce Banda and to restore her security detail.
In a statement signed by FND Chairperson, Bright Kampaundi and National Coordinator, Fryson Chodzi, FND says the benefits for Banda are non-negotiable because they are provided for in the constitution.
“The state president took an oath to protect and uphold the constitution of the Republic of Malawi and our expectations are that he will do so without discrimination, vendetta and ill will.
“Furthermore her return is very crucial to the development of Malawi as so many issues will be dealt with including the issues of cashgate and also delegation to international forums,” reads part of the statement.
In the statement, FND argues that Malawians were happy to hear a beautiful and strong speech during the United Nations trip where the President stressed his interest to have this matter resolved.
FND says: “President Peter Mutharika on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and when delivering a public lecture to Yale University indicated that the former President is free to return home at any time and the government will accord her all the benefits entitled to her office.”
The forum also expressed sadness to note that recent media reports have gone contrary to the position of the president and there are indications that the government has withdrawn the house that was meant for Banda in Area 10 and there has not been any assurance of reinstating of her security detail.
“The pension for former presidents is a constitutional issue since it is provided for in the constitution. We are of the opinion that such matters must not be at the mercy of the government to be choosy whether to honor or not.
“When government is failing to honor the constitutional right of the former president and provide assurance on her security and accommodation, the nation will be forced to believe that the government is only paying lip service on the return of the former president.
“We will be further compelled to believe the fears that Joyce Banda has raised about her security and safety which are serious concerns for a person of her stature,” says FND in the statement.