The family of Malawiâ€™s first president Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda has written government, demanding benefits of the former president 15 years after his death.
The familyâ€™s lawyer, Ralph Mhone, confirmed in an interview on Tuesday that he sent a notice to the Attorney General.
Mhone said government is yet to respond to the notice, but warned that if authorities do not pay, the matter will go to court.
The notice, dated October 24 2012 with reference RAI/C/183, has the heading: Claim for benefits: Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda (Deceased).
â€œWe have instructions from the Chendawaka family whom we represent to claim for benefits for the First Head of State of the country who ruled from 1961 to 1994. Our clients inform us that since the deceased left office in 1994, he was never paid any benefits for his service to the nation or for recognition as a retired Head of State.
â€œWe, therefore, claim for gratuity, monthly pension, benefits and facilities as provided under Section 4(1) (c) of the Presidents [Salaries and Benefits] Act [and Part 111 of the Schedule of the Act] Cap 2:02 of the Laws of Malawi. Your due attention to this matter will be highly appreciated,â€ reads the statement.
Section 4 (1) of the Presidents Act reads: â€œA former President shall, upon ceasing to hold office of President, be entitled to the gratuity, monthly pension, benefits and facilities specified in Part 111 of the schedule.â€
Part 111 of the schedule cites a former presidentâ€™s benefits as including tax-free lump sum gratuity calculated in accordance with the formula applicable in the case of civil servants or one year tax-free salary, whichever is greater, tax-free monthly pension at 50 percent of the Presidentâ€™s salary except where a house is provided at government expense, a monthly housing allowance equal to 40 percent of his salary at the time of ceasing to hold office as President.
Other benefits are two motor vehicles (a saloon and a four-wheel drive 10 seater); free electricity; free water; free telephone; free medical services and a personal physician; free local travel by scheduled air transport; housing allowance for staff; medical insurance, spouse and children under 18, one first-class return air ticket in each year for the former president and for the spouse to travel abroad; two personal motor vehicles every five years; personal clothing; foodstuffs and beverages for personal consumption, among others.
The Act also says: â€œSubject to subsection (2), where the President, the Vice President, a former President or a former Vice President who is entitled to benefits conferred by this Act dies while in or after having left office, the surviving spouse and any children of the family who have not attained the age of 18 shall be entitled jointly to the pension.â€
â€œWe filed notice of claim and gave it to the Attorney General. We are yet to hear from them [government]. When you are employed, you expect your employer to pay you. They [government] never paid [his benefits],â€ said Mhone.
Mhone said based on the Presidents Act, government will calculate Bandaâ€™s benefits.
â€œOnce they calculate, they will advise us how much. It is more or less like pension,â€ he said.
Attorney General Ralph Kasambara said on Thursday that he had not yet seen the notice and as such could not give governmentâ€™s position.
Banda became the first president for Malawi on July 6 1964 when the country attained independence.
In 1994, Bakili Muluzi defeated him in the first multiparty general election.
Kamuzu died on November 23 1997.