Former president Joyce Banda is scheduled to return home next month from South Africa, where she had been operating from, since her loss in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The former president, who is also leader of the opposition People’s Party (PP), has been out of the country on private engagements since June 29, 2014 when she left for the United States of America (US).
Her homecoming brings to an end a 10-month absence from the local political scene which has reportedly created a power vacuum in her party, leading to internal wrangles.
While the actual date of return remains confidential, her spokesperson Andekuche Chanthunya, press aide Tusekele Mwanyongo and PP secretary general Ibrahim Matola confirmed the development in separate interviews yesterday.
Said Chanthunya: “She is currently winding up her engagement, before returning home, but we cannot provide details about her return, for security reasons. We will issue a proper statement detailing her itinerary mid next month.”
On his part, Mwanyongo said former first gentleman Richard Banda arrived in the country last week to prepare for his wife’s return.
He said she [Banda] has a few speaking engagements to attend to at the United Nations and in South America, particularly Argentina, before returning home.
Said Mwanyongo: “The retired chief justice is already in the country to renovate their family home.”
Matola also said he could not provide the former president’s arrival dates, citing security reasons, but promised to do so at an opportune time.”
Said Matola: “As we indicated, we will announce her arrival date when appropriate. We will inform the nation accordingly, whether she will come through Lilongwe or Blantyre, so that those who want to welcome her should do so freely.
“Everybody in the party is delighted that she is finally returning home and is eagerly looking forward to seeing her.”
Some of the former president’s major engagements include meeting former United States president Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Morocco on May 5 and receiving of her doctorate degree on May 15.