Governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has dismissed People’s Party (PP) on the reasons behind former president Joyce Banda’s failure to return home over a year after losing the May 20 Tripartite Elections.
In a statement published on Wednesday and signed by PP secretary general Ibrahim Matola, the former governing party says Banda is afraid to return home because on security concerns.
But DPP spokesperson Francis Kasaila, in an interview on Wednesday, said PP has no convincing reason to give to its members and supporters about its leader’s prolonged absence; hence, the delaying tactics.
Reads in part Matola’s statement: “It is a known fact that the DPP leadership has on several occasions tried to go after the life of our party president not to mention several attempts to link her to the Cashgate scam based on unfounded, senseless and baseless allegations.
“Issues of security must not be compromised, especially with the current DPP administration that is associated with a history of murdering innocent citizens. Twenty-one  citizens who took part in the 20 July demonstrations and a fourth year student at the Malawi Polytechnic, the late Robert Chasowa, were brutally murdered during DPP administration.”
However, Kasaila said it was not DPP which linked JB, as Banda is fondly called by her followers, to Cashgate, but PP members.
He said: “It was actually her then minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara and party director, convicted [businessperson] Osward Lutepo [who mentioned Banda’s alleged involvement in Cashgate in court]. So, the party must not bring such issues up.”
Kasaila cautioned PP to tread carefully on allegations of murder, saying people’s lives were lost.
He further said former president Bakili Muluzi (1994 to 2004) was living freely in the country and has been accorded with State security; hence, PP’s fears about security were unfounded.
Banda has been postponing her return home for over a year now. Her office frequently issues statements about her involvement in international engagements in the United States of America, South Africa, Ethiopia and other places.
Banda became president in April 2012 in line with constitutional order after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika. The Constitution provides that in case of death or incapacitation, the Vice-President, as Banda was then, completes the President’s term.
Prior to her ascendancy, Banda was Bingu’s estranged vice-president who was expelled from DPP for allegedly creating parallel party structures. However, she claimed that she refused to endorse as presidential candidate current President Peter Mutharika who was allegedly anointed heir by his elder brother. n