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I will not contest again—Joyce Banda

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As some political parties are preparing for national conventions this year, former president Joyce Banda of People’s Party has said she will never contest as State president again.

She cites contentment with development projects being implemented by the current administration among factors that have made her arrive at the conclusion.

Speaking to The Daily Times, Banda said, as at now, politics is not on her mind, such that it is not her priority.

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Asked to comment on Malawi’s current political environment, Banda said she, as former president, has to be courteous to those in the driving seat.

“On politics in the country, I can hardly comment because I am a former president and, as such, that is against protocol. You will never find [former] US president [Bill] Clinton criticising the current one; that is not right,’’ she said.

She added that the incumbent, Lazarus Chakwera, is accessible to former presidents every time there is anything worth discussing.

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‘‘Only those that wish to contest [in elections] can criticise [the President] in public, which I cannot do because I will never contest [for president] again. I did my part, which I believe I played with all my wisdom and strength led by God. Let Malawians comment [on issues] but I will be the wrong person to do that,” Banda said.

Banda said she believes that her calling is to help less privileged people, singling out women and children, achieve their aspirations.

That is why, she said, she is disheartened with the continued abuse of children, women and the elderly, who she said are falsely accused of practising witchcraft and victimised.

“I think there is anger, hatred and bitterness in this country that forces people to abuse the vulnerable that cannot defend themselves. People must stop levelling witchcraft accusations on the elderly. This must stop at once because it doesn’t make sense.

“Let religious groupings pray for our beloved country; they should not be [among] those fueling cases of elderly people abuse. That is why I am commending law enforcers for acting on perpetrators,” she said.

The former president also asked men to play a leading role in supporting girls for them to achieve their academic aspirations.

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