Former Malawi President Joyce Banda has finally come out of her cocoon to say she is ready to contest in the next elections, so long as Malawians ask her to do so when she returns home in the ‘near’ future.
Speaking to Voice of America (VOA) on Wednesday, Banda indicated that when she winds up her research projects in the United States of America (USA) she will be returning home where she is ready to serve the nation as asked to by Malawians.
She has been abroad since losing in the elections in 2014 and says at the moment she is at the Center for Global Development and the Woodrow Wilson Center as a distinguished visiting fellow and distinguished Fellow respectively.
In the polls, which she protested, she lost to Peter Mutharika. But Banda insists she can still serve the nation.
‘’If Malawians want me to lead the nation, I will not deny but contest in the elections,’’ she responded to host Shaka Sali.
On the cashgate scandal, Banda categorically denied any involvement saying she inherited cashgate when she was heading into power as Malawi had already been into public looting of resources.
“This is why when I knew this was taking place due to the poor stance of the Integrated Financial Management system (IFMIS), I ordered for a reshuffle of the cabinet so that investigations could be done smoothly. Up to seventy people were arrested. This was in itself one of the steps I took towards ending the looting,” she said.
The cashgate scandal could be one of the main reasons the Banda regime lost popularity and with it the presidency in the elections.
An audit report prepared by Price WaterHouse Coopers (PwC) revealed that MK553.3 billion remains unaccounted for in the period that Joyce Banda was in power, between 2012 and 2014. This amounts to 95 percent of the MK0.5 trillion (MK577.2 billion), which is the total sum of all the stolen public funds from 2009 to 2014.
Banda is now in US doing research which focuses on women’s political leadership, girls’ education, and maternal and reproductive health.
But at home, commentators have argued that her Peoples Party (PP) has lost ground. After she left Malawi, there have been notable infightings in the party she still leads.