Coronavirus: Obasanjo, George Weah, Other African Leaders Feature In New Song On African Solidarity

 

Top African leaders including former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, incumbent Liberian President George Weah, Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga have been featured in a new song titled ‘Alone but Altogether.’

The song, which starred Ugandan music star Bobi Wine and South African legend Robin Auld, encourages Africans to unite as the continent struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

It also starred Amuta Stone, Schalk Joubert, Lumanyano Unity Mzi, and Greg Mills.

“Different times are here; searching for the answer; don’t be a victim; be a solution; we have to persevere; all alone altogether.

“In our homes, for each other; I know we’ll find a way; in Africa,” they sang.

Ex-African leaders in the video include Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Joyce Banda, Pierre Buyoga, Kgalema Motlanthe, and FW de Klerk.

Others include Ernest Bai Koroma, Hailemariam Desalegn, Moeketesi Majoro, Salous Chilima among others.

The song was produced by SABI Strategy Group.

 

 

Malawi’s Banda Re-Elected Party Leader To Contest Presidential Polls

Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda speaks during an interview to Agence France-Presse at her residence in her home village at Domasi in Zomba, eastern Malawi, on April 30, 2018.
Amos Gumulira / AFP

 

Malawi’s ex-president Joyce Banda, who recently returned home after four years of self-imposed exile, was on Thursday reelected as her People’s Party’s PP) to lead it into next year’s national elections.

As political parties readied for next year’s elections, 1,800 PP delegates from around the country converged in the commercial capital of Blantyre to give Banda the mandate to attempt to wrestle power from President Peter Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), to whom she lost the 2014 elections.

Banda garnered 1,183 party votes against her little-known opponent Leonard Mphidza who polled 23 votes.

In her victory speech, Banda said she is geared up to lead the party she founded to the polls.

“I accept the task you have placed in my hands and I am grateful for the faith you have placed in me,” she told the assembled party delegates.

“I am ready to work hard because the mandate has come from you. I am more rejuvenated because poverty has become worse since the PP left office,” she added.

Banda laid out her manifesto, promising to restore electricity, education standards, to build a mining industry, to restore the fledging economy, provide affordable housing to the poorest and to provide health care for all.

“It is our right to get proper treatment,” she said.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and local council elections in May 2019.

Banda, 68, fled the country in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in the multimillion dollar so-called “Cashgate” scandal, the biggest financial misconduct by government officials uncovered in the country’s history.

She returned to Malawi in April after four years of self-imposed exile, despite facing the threat of arrest over corruption allegations.

Banda, who served as Malawi’s first female president from 2012 to 2014, says she has done nothing wrong and that the allegations against her are politically motivated.

She founded the PP in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by President Mutharika.

AFP

Malawi’s Ex-President, Banda To Seek Election Amid Corruption Allegation

Malawi's Ex-President Banda Returns After Four-year Exile
Former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda           Paul Morigi / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Malawi’s ex-president Joyce Banda, who recently returned home after four years of self-imposed exile, on Monday said she was ready to run in next year’s presidential elections if nominated by her party.

Banda, 68, fled in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in a massive graft scandal in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

She told AFP that she will contest at her People’s Party (PP) elective convention due in coming months.

“The power to choose a torchbearer rests with the people,” she said. “If they chose me, yes, I will stand.”

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May 2019.

Banda founded the PP in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by President Peter Mutharika.

She was Malawi’s first female president, serving from April 2012 to May 2014, but analysts say she stands little chance of victory in the next polls.

“Her chances of winning are very slim. Her party is in tatters. The decision to leave the country for so long eroded trust of Malawians in her leadership,” said Henry Chingaipe, a political scientist at the University of Malawi.

Her downfall came in part from the so-called “Cashgate” scandal, the biggest financial misconduct in the country’s history.

Ministers, civil servants and businessmen were accused of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.

The scandal prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid worth around $150 million (129 million euros).

Banda says she did nothing wrong and that the allegations against her are politically motivated.

After she returned to the country in April, police said an arrest warrant against her was valid, but two months later she has been neither charged nor arrested.

AFP

Former Malawi President, Banda Still Under Probe

Malawi's Ex-President Banda Returns After Four-year Exile
FILE PHOTO Former President of Malawi H.E. Joyce Banda attends 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York in New York City. Paul Morigi / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Malawi’s anti-corruption agency said Wednesday that newly-returned former president Joyce Banda was still under investigation over the massive graft scandal that erupted while she was in office.

Banda returned to Malawi at the weekend after four years of self-imposed exile, saying she had done nothing wrong and had no fear of being arrested.

But Malawi’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) dismissed claims that she had been cleared of all allegations over the “Cashgate” scandal, in which officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

“This is not true,” ACB director general Reyneck Matemba told Wednesday’s Nation newspaper.

“We never said we have cleared the former president,” he said, adding that they had evidence from three suspects convicted over the scandal.

“We are following up on those allegations. I don’t think that is clearance,” Matemba said.

Since her return, Banda, 68, has said that the allegations against her were politically motivated.

Banda, who may launch a presidential bid in 2019 elections, was greeted by hundreds of supporters of her People’s Party (PP) when she arrived in Blantyre airport on Saturday.

Information Minister Nicholas Dausi said President Peter Mutharika was not involved in any decision whether to an investigation into Banda.

“The ACB has investigation and prosecution powers. It is not up to the president to ask them to do that,” he said.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May 2019.

AFP

Former Malawi’s President, Banda Dismisses ‘Political’ Corruption Allegations

Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda speaks during an interview to Agence France-Presse at her residence in her home village at Domasi in Zomba, eastern Malawi, on April 30, 2018.
Amos Gumulira / AFP

 

Malawi’s newly-returned former president Joyce Banda said Monday she had evidence that corruption allegations against her were politically motivated as she left the door open to another presidential run.

Banda, 68, flew home on Saturday after four years of self-imposed exile during which she faced the threat of arrest over corruption allegations in the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history.

Banda fled in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

“This is not a matter I would want to discuss now. But I just want you to know that this matter is political,” she told AFP at her home in Zomba, southern Malawi.

“I don’t think, I know. I have got evidence to that effect.”

Banda — only the second woman to lead a country in Africa — was greeted by hundreds of supporters of her People’s Party (PP) when she arrived in Blantyre airport.

“Mother is here, the lights should come back,” the crowd chanted.

“I am back, what do I do? Do I step aside and allow younger people to take over? Do I stay? That has to be discussed in my party,” she said Monday.

 Election plotting? 

“Before going to any election, every party holds a convention — and it is (down to) the people if they want the person to stand again.”

Local media have reported a possible deal between President Peter Mutharika and Banda ahead of next year’s elections.

Banda founded the PP in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party, which is led by Mutharika.

Police spokesman James Kaledzera last week declined to say if Banda would be arrested, though he confirmed that a warrant issued last July remained valid.

Earlier this year, the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it had no solid evidence against the former president, partially clearing her name.

The “Cashgate” scandal prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid worth around $150 million.

Ministers, civil servants and businessmen are accused of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.

The scandal helped push Banda out of power in the 2014 election, and Mutharika vowed to clean up the system to bring donors back.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May 2019.

AFP

Malawi’s Ex-President Banda Returns After Four-year Exile

Malawi's Ex-President Banda Returns After Four-year Exile
(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 20, 2016, former President of Malawi H.E. Joyce Banda attends 2016 Concordia Summit – Day 2 at Grand Hyatt New York in New York City. Paul Morigi / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Malawi’s former president, Joyce Banda, returned home on Saturday after four years of self-imposed exile, despite facing the threat of arrest over corruption allegations.

Banda, 68, fled the country in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in the so-called Cashgate scandal, in which government officials syphoned off millions of dollars of public money.

Banda — only the second woman to lead a country in Africa — arrived at Blantyre’s airport on a flight from Johannesburg around midday on Saturday, where she was greeted by hundreds of supporters of her People’s Party, said an AFP journalist at the scene.

“Mother is here, the lights should come back”, the crowd chanted.

No police were present as she left the plane.

Her spokesman Andekunye Chanthunya had earlier said she would head straight to her home at Domasi in Zomba, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) away.

Local media have reported a possible deal between President Peter Mutharika and Banda ahead of next year’s elections.

Banda founded the People’s Party (PP) in 2011 after splitting from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is led by Mutharika.

Chanthunya told AFP that Banda would also address a political rally on Sunday.

“She remains the head of the PP. The question of whether she wants to contest for the presidency or not will be answered in due course, but we may get an idea of how she is thinking.”

– Government coffers emptied –

Police spokesman James Kaledzera has declined to say if Banda would be arrested, though he confirmed that a warrant issued last July remained valid.

Earlier this year, the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it had no solid evidence against the former president, partially clearing her name.

The “Cashgate” scandal prompted foreign donors — who provide around 40 percent of Malawi’s budget — to pull the plug on aid worth around $150 million.

Ministers, civil servants and businessmen are accused of pocketing money from government coffers through ghost companies which did not provide any services to the state.

The biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history helped push Banda out of power in the 2014 election, and Mutharika vowed to clean up the system to bring donors back.

The graft started in 2005, and more than $30 million was looted within only six months in 2013 shortly before it was uncovered, according to an independent audit.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May 2019.

Banda came to power in 2012 when Bingu wa Mutharika, the current president’s brother, died in office.

She has spent much of her time abroad in the United States and her return has been postponed several times, most recently last year when the arrest warrant was issued.

Political analyst Henry Chingaipe said her influence was uncertain and she could struggle to play a major role in the elections.

“If she is coming home just to live, OK. But if she is coming to contest for the presidency, her party is in tatters,” he told AFP.

“The decision to leave the country for so long eroded trust in her leadership.”

The World Bank resumed aid to Malawi in May last year, providing an $80 million package and saying the country had “taken some very important reform steps”.

AFP

Peter Mutharika Emerges As President Of Malawi

Peter Mutharika, former Foreign Minister and brother to the late President of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, leaves the Malawi court after he was granted bail in LilongweThe Malawi Electoral Commission has declared leader of opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Peter Mutharika, the winner of the Presidential elections, kicking out Joyce Banda from office.

Mutharika got 36.4 percent of the vote while Banda, southern Africa’s first female president, trailed in third place with 20.2 percent of the vote.

Mutharika, 74, is the brother of the late President Bingu Wa Mutharika and was leading the results on May 24 when Banda ordered the parliamentary and presidential elections canceled, citing “rampant irregularities”.

Malawi’s High Court issued an injunction the same day, stopping Banda from interfering with the vote. Second place went to Lazarus Chakwera of the Malawi Congress Party with 27.8 percent of the vote.

“We have to now focus on what matters. Spend our tax money wisely … What unites us Malawians is more important than what divides us,” Malawi Electoral Commission Chairman, Maxon Mbandera said to Mutharika.

Peter Mutharika has been sworn in as Malawi’s President and the leader of the Democratic Progressive Party has urged the 11 other presidential candidates, including outgoing President, Joyce Banda – who has now admitted defeat – to “join me in rebuilding the country”.

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest nations and it is heavily dependent on aid, which provides 40% of the government’s budget.

Malawi Elections: Joyce Banda Faces Strong Challenges

Joyce BandaMalawi’s President, Joyce Banda, is fighting to cling on to her job as the country is voting in a tight election which sees the incumbent facing three strong challengers.

Mrs Banda has been in power for two years after the sudden death of President Binguwa Mutharika.

Her reputation has been dented by a corruption scandal, known as Cashgate, which has led donors to cut aid.

Her main challengers are Mr Mutharika’s brother, Peter; Atupele Muluzi – the son of another former president – and a former preacher, Lazarus Chakwera.

Mr Chakwera is the candidate of the Malawi Congress Party, which governed from independence in 1964 until the first multi-party poll in 1994.

Analysts say that despite the close race, President Banda is likely to win because of her popularity in rural areas.

The candidate with the most votes is declared the winner of the presidential race as there is no run-off.

President Banda, however, believes that she had worked hard enough to deserve a re-election but admitted that the verdict remained in the hands of the people.

Malawi is one the poorest countries in the world and is heavily dependent on aid, with donors providing 40% of the country’s budget.

 

Joyce Banda Calls Mandela a Great Reformer

The Malawian president Joyce Banda, has called the former president of South- Africa, Nelson Mandela a “Great Reformer” who championed the cause of humanity, deepened democracy and dedicated his life to selfless service.

She described him as a man who worked tirelessly to promote national, regional and world peace.

Adding that while mourning his death; she wants to use this opportunity to celebrate the life of a great man.

“The life of Tata Mandela will continue to inspire those of us left behind to promote peace and security, deepened regional integration and support to one another as it was used in the fight against apartheid”.

Jonathan pledges support for African women

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday called on African countries to intensify efforts to remove all barriers that limit women and the girl child from actualizing their dreams.

The president was speaking in Abuja while declaring open the 7th summit of the African first ladies peace mission holding in the federal capital territory.

He said that women must be protected against all forms of discriminations and be given equal opportunities and access to education, politics and the economy.

President Jonathan pledged that his administration will continue to lend support to the attainment of the goals of the peace mission saying that the summit reaffirms the sense of urgency of the challenging political and security situation facing several countries on the African continent.

He however decried the new threats of drug and human trafficking, climate change, kidnapping, terrorism, poverty and sectarian conflicts which undermine the efforts to work towards achieving sustainable peace, and development in African countries.

Malawi’s president will not attend AU summit

Malawi President Joyce Banda will not attend the African Union summit which was moved to Ethiopia after she said her country did not want to host Sudan’s leader, wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges.

Banda, president since April, has been trying to woo back overseas donors which froze hundreds of million of dollars of aid under her predecessor who picked fights with Western countries and was condemned for a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters.

A few weeks after taking office, she asked the African Union (AU) to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir taking part in the July summit, saying his visit to Malawi could damage the economy. .

As an International Criminal Court (ICC) member state, Malawi is supposed to arrest Bashir if he enters its territory.

The AU this week moved the meeting to the Ethiopian capital due to Malawi’s stand.

“I respect the decision of the African Union to move the summit from Lilongwe to Addis Ababa but I am not attending the meeting,” Banda told a news conference late on Thursday.

When asked whether she was protesting the AU decision to move the summit, rather than prevent Bashir from attending, she said: “My main agenda is to put Malawi on an economic recovery path and that’s what I am trying to do.”

The Sudanese leader visited Malawi last year when President Bingu wa Mutharika was in power, which sparked international criticism. Mutharika died of a heart attack in April.

REUTERS

Malawi may be first African country to legalise homosexuality

Malawi’s President, Joyce Banda has said she wants her country to overturn its ban on homosexual acts – the first African country to do so since 1994.

Malawi’s President, Joyce Banda

Two Malawian men were sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2010 after saying they were getting married.

Several Western leaders have recently said they would cut aid to countries which did not recognise gay rights.

Mrs Banda, who came to power in April on the death of her predecessor, said in her first state of the nation address on Friday: “Indecency and unnatural acts laws shall be repealed.” She described the measure as a matter of urgency.

She further said her government wanted to normalise relations with “our traditional development partners who were uncomfortable with our bad laws”.

But repealing a law requires a parliamentary vote and, although Banda’s party commands a majority, it is unclear how much support the move would have in this socially conservative nation.

Malawi was widely condemned for the conviction and 14-year prison sentences given in 2010 to two men who were arrested after celebrating their engagement and were charged with unnatural acts and gross indecency.

The former president, Bingu wa Mutharika had pardoned the couple on “humanitarian grounds only”, while claiming they had “committed a crime against our culture, against our religion, and against our laws”.

The Senate had last year taken a strong stand against same sex marriage in Nigeria.

Debate over same sex marriage is growing across the world. While some countries have legalised it, others are considering adopting it and few conservatives have taken similar strong stands against it.

“We as a country need to act very fast for this trend not to find its way into our country,” Domingo Obende, had said while moving the motion against same sex marriage last September.

“Same sex marriage cannot be allowed on moral and religious grounds. The Muslim religion forbids it. Christianity forbids it and the African traditional religion forbids it. It should not be allowed because it will lead to a breakdown of the society,” Mr Obende said.

The United States’ State Department and 16 international human rights groups had strongly condemned the bill, calling it a violation of the freedoms of expression, association and assembly guaranteed by international law as well as by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and a barrier to the struggle against the spread of AIDS.