Jun 22, 2018 Last Updated 9:57 AM, Jun 22, 2018
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Malawi’s Former President Joyce Banda insists that age should not be a limiting factor for a person to contest as a presidential candidate in Malawi.

The Peoples Party leader spoke at Nyambadwe ground in Ndirande, Blantyre on Sunday during political rally.

The debate over the right age for presidential candidates was sparked by former First Lady Callista Mutharika who openly supported Vice President Saulos Chilima over President Peter Mutharika.      

But Banda, who is 68, argues that a person should be voted into power based on his or her capabilities.

She wondered why people are only considering the old and the young age without considering those in the fifties and sixties.

According to Banda, the world has seen presidents of old age who have governed very well and young people who have failed to rule.

The former Malawi leader Banda gave an example of a Botswana president who discovered diamonds in his country and handled them for the benefit of the country.

The former leader urged people to scrutinize all candidates whether young or old and vote for them according to their manifestoes.

One Member of Parliament who believes that age should be a limiting factor is Joseph Chidanti Malunga.

Malunga is expected to move a motion on Thursday last week, which may limit the age of people are to run for the presidency of this country.

According to the Member of Parliament for Nsanje South West, an ideal person to run for the presidency should be below the age of 65.

A political analyst from the Chancellor College Ernest Thindwa believes the two should go hand in hand as they depend on each other.

Thindwa states that age should not necessarily limit a person from standing as president as a good leader emanates from the heart.

He however says that as a person grows old, his or her thinking capacity shrinks therefore it is good to consider age as another factor.

Thindwa agrees with Banda and Malunga but adds that a person’s capabilities should be paramount in choosing a leader.

The tension about age is coming at a time Malawi is rushing towards the 2019 tripartite polls where citizens are expected to be elected new councilors, MPs and the President.

Among those who are expected to contest next year, are Peter Mutharika who is the oldest at 78, Lazarus Chakwera, 63, Joyce Banda, 68, and Saulos Chilima who is 45 and the youngest.

Joyce Banda Returns

Malawi's former president Joyce Banda will arrive home this week after four years of self-imposed exile that saw an arrest warrant issued against her for alleged corruption, her party said on Monday. 

Nowa Chimpeni, a spokesman for Banda's People's Party (PP) told local media she was returning to rebuild the party ahead of May 2019 elections. 

"I can confirm to our followers and Malawians at large that the former president of this country Dr Joyce Banda will be arriving in this country on Saturday," Chimpeni said. 

He added that Banda intended to "reorganise her party" after many members abandoned it for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) during her four-year absence, in which she lived in the United States, South Africa and Britain. 

Last year police issued an arrest warrant for Banda in connection with the country's "Cashgate" corruption scandal, which involved large-scale looting of government coffers.    

Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said the warrant remained valid but he declined to say if she would be detained upon arrival. 

Cashgate is the biggest financial scandal in Malawi's history and helped push Banda out of power in 2014 when she lost out to President Peter Mutharika.

Former Malawi President Joyce Banda has not given up on her political career, and will contest for presidency in next year’s elections.

She has made the revelation through her Spokesperson Andekuche Chamthunya.

Her office however fails to disclose the exact date the former Malawi leader is returning home.

Banda left the country soon after the 2014 elections, which she lost to Democratic Progressive Party’s Peter Mutharika.

As next year’s elections are drawing closer, political parties are stepping up efforts in their preparations, and questions are being asked on the future of Banda with her Peoples Party.

Chamthunya tells Capital FM’s Rhodes Msonkho that Banda will be among those contesting at the party’s convention, to be its torch bearer

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.

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