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Joyce Banda accuses government of tampering with her security

The former president Joyce Banda says her husband, Richard Banda, who was in the country renovating their village home in preparation for her return, has written the international community, including the diplomatic community in Malawi, alerting them about the imminent danger that she faces.

In a statement released on Monday, Banda cited the recent withdrawal of her security apparatus, accusations of attempted murder and killing of a sitting president and the CCTV footage allegations as a source of great concern not only to her and her entire family but to many people in Malawi and abroad.

“Malawians are aware that there is a total breakdown of security in the country where both police officers and innocent civilians are being killed in broad daylight. This scenario does not help matters in as far as my own security is concerned,” Banda said.

She said the government spokesperson, Kondwani Nankhumwa, told a news conference in Lilongwe on December 4, 2014 that they had handed over CCTV footage that captured meetings between her and cashgate suspect Osward Lutepo to the Anti-Corruption Bureau in an apparent attempt to implicate her in the scandal.

Banda said President Peter Mutharika has also made serious allegations to the effect that she had planned to kill him when he was arrested on alleged coup plot charges in March 2013.

“President Mutharika claimed ‘fake doctors’ had been hired to poison him while in police custody and that he has sworn affidavits of the alleged ‘fake’ doctors. President Mutharika further said he would use this information when the right time comes,” Banda said.

The former president said on May 9 this year, at the memorial of late president Bingu wa Mutharika at Ndata Farm in Thyolo, Nankhumwa, claimed there is evidence that Banda had killed Bingu and must, therefore, be taken to court.

“These claims are extremely serious and expose me to serious danger,” Banda said.

She said she is surprised that President Mutharika goes around the globe promising leaders about her safety and freedom but days later Nankhumwa goes public to scandalise her and make statements that contradict the Mutharika’s purported standpoint.

Banda further said the events of October and November 2010 when she was the vice president in which her security was also drastically reduced and weakened justify her concern.

On November 19, 2010, Banda was involved in what she described as mysterious road accident at Kanengo in Lilongwe.

“As a family, as well as many people, we feel the current scenario may be history repeating itself,” she said.

The former president also said in February this year, Nankhumwa told international organisations not to recognise and honour her for various life achievements before consulting the Malawi Government.

“Government went further to demand that I must always take leave of President Mutharika every time I make any trip abroad. I find such demands not in conformity with the law. I am a private citizen who can travel to anywhere in the world anytime without any restrictions,” she said.

Banda said the government has not provided any of her retirement benefits, including a decent and secure home, transport and salary since she left office last year but she has remained patient throughout the period.

She then advised Mutharika to seriously focus on his work as there are many pressing issues affecting the general citizenry in Malawi, especially the rising insecurity and crime, impending hunger; water and electricity shortages; and the collapsing economy instead of picking unnecessary fights with perceived opposition political enemies.

In an interview yesterday, Nankhumwa said he could not comment on some of the issues raised as they are in court courtesy of Banda herself.

On Banda’s security, Nankhumwa said that is the work of security agencies including the Police and it would be inappropriate to discuss Banda’s security detail in the media.

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