The U.S. government’s investment in the development of African nations has helped expand the programs that help women, said Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi.
In a speech on K-State’s campus Monday, Banda advocated for gender equality and called for the U.S. government, in light of its current foreign policy, to continue to work with African nations. Banda’s speech is the 177th of the Landon Lecture Series, the university’s most prestigious lecture.
“My goal is to ensure that all of you listening today leave this auditorium that you will see it is our great task to promote gender equality and development around the world,” she said.
When Banda was a child, she said she learned one of her friends was unable to attend school because her family could not afford the $6 to keep her enrolled.
“I was 14 years old when I was aware to this type of injustice,” she said, noting 130 million girls worldwide are not in school. “Isn’t it tragic that millions of girls are not in school for no fault of their own?"
Through her political career, Banda served as Malawi president form 2012 to 2014, as well as the vice president, foreign minister, minister of gender and child welfare, and as a member of Malawi’s Parliament. She worked for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill of 2006, which supports the prevention of violence against women and girls in Malawi.
She has worked on gender equality issues and focused on education for young girls.
“I made up my mind at that age that I was going to grow up and send as many girls to school as I could,” she said.
She said when African nations began to win independence, the United States saw an opportunity to begin investing the continent’s nations and to build partnerships.
Banda noted the work from U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
But the current president’s focus on America First foreign policy is the chance for the African nations to get their priorities right, focusing on minimizing the income inequality gap in the continent.
For African nations to continue to develop, Banda said the United States does not need to send aid, but be willing to continue trade with the countries.
“What Africa needs is trade,” she said. “I say this not saying shut out and don’t give aid. But if we want to make an impact, we must create sustainable employment opportunities for the 50 percent unemployed college graduates across Africa so they will not swim across the Mediterranean to go looking for opportunities in Europe.”
She said there is also plenty the United States can learn from Africa, noting four women, including herself, have served as presidents of African nations.
Suspended People’s Party acting President Uladi Mussa has threatened to take legal action against the party.
Mussa was speaking after the PP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) suspended him barely hours last week Thursday after he declared his ambition to contest for the position of the party President.
According to Mussa the tenure of the party’s founder, Joyce Banda has ended, meaning that the seat is vacant.
He also claims that the National Executive Committee has no power to suspend him and will challenge the decision in a court of law.
In an earlier interview with Capital FM, the PP’s Spokesperson Noah Chimpeni confirmed the suspension of Mussa.
Chimpeni said that Mussa had been suspended for uttering hatred remarks against party’s founder who is also Malawi’s former President.
To critics, Mussa’s suspension is a sign that political parties are failing to embrace intra-party democracy, this they are attributing to the of founder’s syndrome.
Happy Kayuni an Associate Professor of Political and Administrative Studies at the Chancellor College said the move is unacceptable and unwelcomed.
“However it is not surprising that the incumbent made such a move when challenged, this is a sign that political parties in the country have not yet reached maturity and it also shows that the party is owned by a particular individual and not the memebers,” Kayuni added.
Banda, who left the country after losing the 2014 Presidential Elections, appointed Mussa as acting President of the Party.
A legal commentator is questioning the professionalism of the police, over the manner in which they are handling issues surrounding the warrant of arrest they obtained for former President Joyce Banda.
He accuses the law enforcers of reluctance to actually effect the arrest on the former President.
The police disclosed that they had obtained a warrant of arrest on June 30 for the former head of state, and that steps were being undertaken to arrest her.
There is however controversy over the issue, with the office of former president claiming efforts to get hold of the arrest warrant are proving futile.
In an earlier interview with capital FM, James Kadadzera who is National Police Spokesperson, stated that they would engage Interpol to help them track down Banda and arrest her.
Justine Dzonzi who is Executive Director of Justice Link said he believes that the government knows exactly where Banda is at the moment.
“They know that the easiest starting point for the police is to liaise with law enforcers wherever she is to assist them in deporting her to Malawi so she can answer the judges
This is the process that is taken when dealing with someone who is not in the country, and there is no indication that the police have taken such a step,” Dzonzi explained.
It has been established that Banda is not on the Interpol list, which brings questions of the seriousness of the police to have Banda back in Malawi, to answer the charges.
Banda is suspected to have allegedly been involved in the embezzlement of money at Capital Hill during her two year tenure.
However through her Spokesperson Andekuche Chanthunya, Banda has several times denied any wrongdoing.
Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda has denied any wrongdoing in a corruption scandal that erupted when she was in office.
The police announced on Monday that they had unearthed credible evidence which raises reasonable suspicion that she committed offences relating to abuse of office and money laundering.
It is in connection with the revelations of the massive plunder of public funds known as the Cashgate scandal.
Billions of kwacha was siphoned during the plunder.
The former President, however, insists that she never did anything wrong and that she is innocent.
"I will be coming back because I never did anything wrong and I am innocent," Banda told Reuters news agency in a telephone interview from South Africa, where she had arrived from the US.
"I am the only president who got to the bottom of corruption and instituted the first-ever commission of inquiry into corruption," she added.
She was expected to proceed to Malawi after carrying out some charity work in South Africa.
More than 70 entrepreneurs, officials and civil servants have been charged in connection with the scandal which occurred between 2009 and 2013.
While president, Banda ordered an independent audit of the corruption revelations, which was conducted by British firm Baker Tilly. The findings were released in 2014.
"Baker Tilly never linked me to any corruption and the rest is what everyone knows, that even some of my cabinet members were arrested. I never shielded anyone who was found to have been part of this," she said.
Banda, who was Malawi's president for two years from 2012, left the country when she lost in an election to current president, Peter Mutharika during the 2014 tripartite elections.
Her return to prove her innocens will be the first after a three year self imposed exile.
Banda has been living in the United States, serving as a distinguished fellow at Woodrow Wilson Center and the Center for Global Development in Washington DC.
The corruption scandal led to international donors halting aid to the southern Africa nation.
Legal minds are emphasizing that there are several procedures to be met if the warrant of arrest for former President Joyce Banda is to have merit across the borders.
The Police yesterday issued the arrest warrant for Banda, following investigations by the fiscal and fraud section of the Malawi Police.
The investigations are based on suspicions that Banda was involved in the massive plundering of taxpayers’ money at Capitol Hill.
The Cashgate scandal was unearthed during her regime, in which over MK20 Billion was embezzled by both public officers and crooked business people.
Speaking to Capital FM, Executive Director of Justice Link Justin Dzonzi disclosed that due to the fact that Banda is outside the country, the process of arresting her will not be easy.
According to Dzonzi, for police to arrest her where she is, police in the country would have to first issue an international warrant of arrest.
This would be used to then arrest her in that particular country and then extradition would begin.
Also commenting on the matter Edge Kanyongolo who is Associate Professor at Chancellor College, said that the law allows Banda to either surrender herself to police or wait for them to find her instead.
Banda’s Spokesperson Andekuche Chanthunya disclosed that they have not yet received the warrant.
News of the issuance of the arrest warrant has attracted national and international attention.
He however added that Banda will make herself present once she’s received the warrant.
Malawi police revealed that they will engage Interpol on the issue but did not mention when exactly that will be.