Only Six African Nations Yet To Record Any Case Of COVID-19

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP.

 

 

Six of Africa’s 54 nations are among the last in the world yet to report cases of the new coronavirus.

The global pandemic has been confirmed in almost every country, but for a handful of far-flung tiny island states, war-torn Yemen and isolated North Korea.

In Africa, authorities claim they are spared by god, or simply saved by low air traffic to their countries, however, some fear it is lack of testing that is hiding the true impact.

– South Sudan –

The East African nation is barely emerging from six years of civil war and with high levels of hunger, illness and little infrastructure, observers fear the virus could wreak havoc.

Doctor Angok Gordon Kuol, one of those charged with overseeing the fight against the virus, said the country had only carried out 12 tests, none of which were positive.

He said the reason the virus has yet to reach South Sudan could be explained by the low volume of air traffic and travel to the country.

“Very few airlines come to South Sudan and most of the countries affected today they are affected by… people coming from abroad.”

He said the main concern was foreigners working for the large NGO and humanitarian community, or people crossing land borders from neighbouring countries.

READ ALSO: Global Lockdown Tightens As Coronavirus Deaths Mount

South Sudan has shut schools, banned gatherings such as weddings, funerals and sporting events and blocked flights from worst-affected countries. Non-essential businesses have been shuttered and movement restricted.

The country can currently test around 500 people and has one isolation centre with 24 beds.

– Burundi –

In Burundi, which is gearing up for general elections in May, authorities thank divine intervention for the lack of cases.

“The government thanks all-powerful God who has protected Burundi,” government spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye said on national television last week.

At the same time, he criticised those “spreading rumours” that Burundi is not capable of testing for the virus, or that it is spreading unnoticed.

Some measures have been taken, such as the suspension of international flights and placing handwashing stations at the entrances to banks and restaurants in Bujumbura.

However, several doctors have expressed their concerns.

“There are zero cases in Burundi because there have been zero tests,” a Burundian doctor said on condition of anonymity.

– Sao Tome and Principe –

Sao Tome and Principe — a tiny nation of small islands covered in the lush rainforest — has reported zero cases because it is unable to test, according to World Health Organisation representative Anne Ancia.

However “we are continuing preparations,” with around 100 people in quarantine after returning from highly-affected countries, and the WHO keeping an eye on cases of pneumonia.

With only four ICU beds for a population of 200,000 people, the country is desperate to not let the virus take hold and has already shut its borders despite the importance of tourism to the local economy.

– Malawi –

Malawi’s health ministry spokesman Joshua Malango brushed aside fears that Malawi might not have registered any COVID-19 cases due to a lack of testing kits:

“We have the testing kits in Malawi and we are testing.”

Dr Bridget Malewezi from the Society of Medical Doctors told AFP that while “we may not be 100 percent ready”, government was gearing up for the arrival of the virus.

She suggested it may only be a matter of time before the pandemic hits Malawi.

“It’s only been in the past few weeks that it has been rampantly spreading across Africa so most people feel it will get here at some point…,” she said.

Malawi has asked people coming from hard-hit countries to self-quarantine, which Malawezi said had helped “safeguard the country from any possible spread of the virus”.

– Lesotho –

Tiny Lesotho, a kingdom encircled by South Africa with only two million inhabitants, went into national lockdown on Monday despite registering zero cases.

Until last week the country had no tests or testing centres and received its first kits thanks to a donation by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.

Authorities had reported eight suspected cases that they had not been able to test and the first results are expected soon.

– Comoros –

The Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros, situated between Madagascar and Mozambique, has yet to detect a single case of the virus, according to the health ministry.

One doctor in the capital Moroni, Dr Abdou Ada, wonders if it may not be because of the wide use of the drug Artemisinin to treat malaria.

“I believe that the mass anti-malarial treatment explains the fact that Comoros is, at least for now, spared from COVID-19. it is a personal belief that needs to be confirmed scientifically.”

AFP

Four Malawi Protesters Charged Over Stoning Policeman To Death

 

Four Malawian protesters have been charged with the murder of a policeman who was stoned to death during clashes between pro- and anti-government demonstrators outside the capital Lilongwe, police said Saturday.

A wave of protests has gripped Malawi since disputed elections in May, and Superintendent Usumani Imedi was killed on Tuesday trying to restore order as violence erupted at Msundwe, a trading outpost west of the capital.

The clashes broke out as a group of protesters attempted to stop supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party from travelling to President Peter Mutharika’s first rally in the city since his election win.

READ ALSO: India Eases Mobile Phone Shutdown In Kashmir Amid Grenade Strike

Police spokesman James Kadadzera told AFP that four anti-government protesters were charged with murder on Friday: Frank Mastone, 28, Kondwani Chisindo, 23, Godfrey Banda, 30, and Licktone Mtiche, 30.

The police also arrested 40 others following Imedi’s death and charged them with endangering the lives of road users.

All the suspects, except one juvenile, appeared before a magistrate in Lilongwe on Friday.

Since the May vote, protesters have been demanding the resignation of electoral body chief Jane Ansah for her handling of the election, which the opposition says was marred by irregularities.

Many of the protests have descended into violence and numerous anti-government protesters and civil society leaders have been jailed.

On Friday night a protest leader from the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Timothy Mtambo, was shot at while driving home.

“The bullets burst the back tyre and front tyre on the driver’s side but he managed to control the car and he drove to safety,” Mtambo’s colleague Reverend MacDonald told AFP.

“It shouldn’t be happening in a democracy where tolerance and dissenting views are the benchmark.”

Foreign embassies including Britain, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway and the US have condemned the spate of violence that has gripped the southern African nation since the election.

The UN rights agency’s spokesman Rupert Colville joined in the calls on Friday, urging “meaningful dialogue” and restraint from security forces and protesters.

“We remind the Malawian authorities of their obligation to respect the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and to distinguish between violent actors and peaceful demonstrators,” Coleville said.

Prince Harry Honours UK Soldier Killed In Malawi Anti-Poaching Mission

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex joins the Botswana defence Force (BDF) anti poaching patrol unit in Chobe river to go for a tour in the Chobe National Park in the Chobe district, in the Northern Botswana on September 26, 2019. MONIRUL BHUIYAN / AFP

 

Britain’s Prince Harry on Monday paid tribute to a British soldier who was killed during an anti-poaching patrol operation in southeastern Malawi.

Guardsman Mathew Talbot, 22, was part of a counter-poaching team conducting patrols with local rangers in Liwonde National Park in May when an elephant charged at them and fatally injured him.

According to Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the elephant pulled Talbot from a tree he had climbed and trampled him.

Prince Harry is on a three-day visit to Malawi and during a tour to Liwonde National Park he unveiled a plaque and laid a wreath at the spot where Talbot was killed.

“Anyone who puts themselves in harm’s way while serving their country should be hugely appreciated,” he said.

Prince Harry lauded the collaboration between the UK and Malawi to win the fight against illegal wildlife trade, from tackling poachers on the ground to sentencing them in court.

“This work is successfully rooting out wildlife criminals at every stage and removing the incentive by prioritising punishment,” he said.

In an opinion piece he penned for the UK-based Telegraph newspaper on Monday, Harry emphasised a necessity to restoring the balance between humans and nature.

“Humans and animals and their habitats fundamentally need to co-exist, or within the next 10 years, our problems across the globe will become even more unmanageable,” the conservation advocate wrote.

“It is being in Africa that makes me fully understand and appreciate this,” he added.

Under a metal sculpture made from snares and weapons removed from the park, Harry inducted Liwonde National Park and Mangochi Forest Reserve into the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a global network of protected forests.

Malawi’s director of wildlife Brighton Kumchedwa said the Duke of Sussex’s visit was a big boost to the aid-dependent country’s tourism industry.

“The visit has managed to raise the profile of Liwonde National Park which is a huge tourism booster as everyone would want to visit a forestry area designated as Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy,” Kumchedwa said.

“But it also gives us the platform for an exchange of good practices but also for possible investment into conservation of natural resources that are in these protected areas.”

AFP

Court Sentences Three To Death Over Albino Killing In Malawi

Map of Malawi

 

A Malawi court has convicted and sentenced two men and a woman to death for killing a person with albinism, a judiciary official said on Wednesday.

Malawi has since late 2014 seen a surge in attacks on people with albinism, whose body parts are often used in witchcraft rituals to bring wealth and luck.

The court found Douglas Mwale, Fontino Folosani and Sophie Jere guilty of murdering Priscott Pepuzani in 2015 using a metal bar and a hoe handle.

The trio chopped off Pepuzani’s limbs and later buried the rest of the body in a garden.

The “three were found guilty of (murder and possessing human tissue) and have been sentenced to death,” Agness Patemba, judiciary spokeswoman told AFP.

The sentence was handed down in the western town of Mchinji on Tuesday.

This is the second death sentence handed down in the country in the past three months following one in May this year for the murder of 19-year-old albino Mphatso Pensulo in 2017.

Malawi has not carried out any executions since 1994, with death sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

Association of People Living with Albinism welcomed Tuesday’s ruling, hoping it will deter attacks on their members.

“This ruling enhances our faith in the judiciary and solidifies our belief that we have them as an advocate in our fight to curb killings and abductions against people with albinism,” said Ian Simbota, leader of the association.

President Peter Mutharika in March appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the spate of attacks on people with albinism after coming under mounting criticism over his response to the attacks.

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi – one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent countries – because they have white skin due to a hereditary condition that causes lack of pigmentation.

In many cases, those with albinism are targeted for their body parts to be used in witchcraft.

Of 163 cases reported in the country since November 2014, 22 have been murders, Amnesty International said in May 2019, criticising impunity for the crimes.

Just 30 percent of those attacks have been properly investigated, according to official statistics.

Malawi’s Albino Busker Ready For World Stage

 

 

Like scores of other buskers, Lazarus Chigwandali plies the streets of Malawi’s capital Lilongwe hoping for a few coins from appreciative passers-by.

But Chigwandali is not your usual street musician. He is an albino, releasing a professional album, and the star of a documentary produced by Madonna.

Albinos are often targeted in brutal attacks in Malawi and other southern African countries because they have white skin due to a hereditary condition that causes lack of pigmentation.

Killings, abductions and gruesome dismembering of body parts for witchcraft are all real dangers.

Despite the risks, Chigwandali, 39, has been out in front of the public for years playing his upbeat tunes on a homemade banjo and a drum that he hits with a pedal operated by his right foot.

His big break came just last year when a tourist took a video of him on a cellphone and the footage was seen by Swedish producer Johan Hugo, who asked him to record an album.

Chigwandali, who sings in the local Chichewa language, draws on his tough upbringing for his music, telling of constant harassment, suspicion and the threat of physical attack.

“Growing up, people didn’t want us being close to them because of our skin,” he told AFP.

“People would leave when I went to watch a football match with my younger brother (also an albino), others would jostle us.

“The album talks about the plight of persons with albinoism. How people should not stigmatise others.”

‘Blows you away’

Chigwandali’s music stands out on its own — energetic with sharp vocals that catch everyone’s attention as they walk by.

Hugo, the Swedish producer, was so impressed by the video clip that he tracked down the Malawian busker and offered to record his music.

“A few golden times in life something blows you away in such an amazing way you just cry and laugh and shake your head,” Hugo said later on social media.

“(It was) one of the coolest and most emotional moments of my life.”

Chigwandali still busks occasionally to provide for his wife and three sons — two of them albinos — though he hopes the blossoming projects he is involved with will soon bring in a regular income.

He wears a wide-brimmed hat to keep off the sunlight that causes painful damage to his sensitive, heavily-freckled skin, and a traditional handmade shirt with a matching pair of trousers.

Ikponswa Ero, the UN’s chief expert on albinoism, told AFP that Chigwandali was playing a unique role in tackling prejudice against albinos.

“He is using the arts for advocacy, which is a powerful tool because it touches people’s hearts, so he is really doing something important here,” she said.

“People like Lazarus complement people like myself who report and help build policy.”

And Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and most aid-dependent countries, has experienced a surge in violent attacks on people with albinoism.

In a report last year, Amnesty International said that since November 2014 there had been 148 crimes reported against people with albinoism, with at least 21 deaths.

For Chigwandali, he says his “recent status as a famous musician has made it difficult for me to be a target because I am more prominent. So, now I go to the village without the fear of being abducted.”

‘Give voice to albinos’

Originally from the town of Dedza in central Malawi, Chigwandali moved to Lilongwe after his much-loved younger brother died of skin cancer in 2006.

Superstar singer Madonna met him during a visit to Malawi last year, and took an executive producer credit in the documentary, simply titled “Lazarus”, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April.

“A powerful voice of a new generation in Malawi,” Madonna wrote beneath a picture of the pair on social media when they performed together in Malawi.

As well as Madonna, Chigwandali hopes to emulate Salif Keita, the Malian afro-pop star singer who also has albinoism.

Now preparing for his album launch, he has released a promotional track “Ndife Alendo” (“We are strangers”) which has been played on several BBC radio stations.

“My message is reaching the whole world now,” he said. “But there’s also been really amazing support from Malawi radio and TV — I want people in my home country to hear this music and appreciate it.

“This has all been a rollercoaster ride for me, these things don’t happen in real life normally. I don’t know what to expect. But I trust that people want the best for me.

“I hope my music gives a voice to people with albinoism, so they understand they’re as worthy as any other human being.”

AFP

US Ambassador Flees Teargas At Malawi Election Protest

Armed Malawian policemen walk through a cloud of teargas as they disperse supporters of The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) in Lilongwe on June 6, 2019, as they attempt to prevent them from regrouping on the second day of their protest against recently President Peter Mutharika’s ascension to power. AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP

 

The US ambassador to Malawi was on Thursday forced to hurriedly leave the main opposition party’s headquarters as police fired teargas at protests outside over alleged election fraud, she told AFP.

Supporters of the opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) had gathered in the capital Lilongwe in an ongoing protest campaign after the May 21 presidential election, which their leader Lazarus Chakweranarrowly lost.

“It was my farewell call and I was saying thank you for the friendship and for the important role that he has done for Malawi over the four-and-a-half years I have been in Malawi,” ambassador Virginia Palmer told AFP.

“Just as we finished the meeting, apparently rocks were thrown and the police responded with teargas.

“There was teargas flying around, but my security people came and we proceeded out without incident.”

MCP activists allege that Chakwerawas robbed ofvictory in the election, which an official count showed he lostby just 159,000 votes.

READ ALSO: African Union Suspends Sudan

Chakwera has rejected the outcome as “daylight robbery” and launched a court battle to have the result annulled on the grounds of fraud.

The MCP has said there was correction fluid on many election results sheets while somefrom polling stations far apart bore the same handwriting.

“I just call on all parties in Malawi to exercise restraint and proceed peacefully while the MCP court case is going forward,” Palmer, who is due to leave her Malawi posting shortly, said.

“This is a peaceful country and a democratic country and we all need to respect these norms.”

AFP

Main Opposition Warns Of Rigging In Close Malawi Vote

Malawi Congress Party leader and Presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera gets ready to cast his ballot at a polling station in Kasiya, Malawi, on May 21, 2019.
GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

 

Malawi opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera on Wednesday warned against attempts to rig the country’s election, claiming he was leading as votes were slowly tallied.

Early official results showed President Peter Mutharika and Chakwera were equal on about 37 per cent of the vote with about one-third of polling centres counted after Tuesday’s election.

Chakwera said his Malawi Congress Party (MCP) was conducting its own count, even though local observers earlier declared the election largely free and fair.

“So far the message is clear, we know that we have a tremendous lead,” he told a news conference at his house in Blantyre.

“No one is going to rig this election. Justice is going to prevail.”

The country has around 6.8 million potential voters but turn-out has not been published.

Mutharika, in office since 2014, has faced accusations of corruption and cronyism.

“Those in power, I know you, you’re trying to tamper with elections,” Chakwera said, who came a narrow second in the 2014 election.

“I warn you, you will soon face the long arm of the law”.

Chakwera has campaigned on an anti-graft platform and has been credited with reviving the MCP.

Two months ago, he secured the high-profile support of former president Joyce Banda.

Close Count

The MCP ruled Malawi from 1964 to 1994 under Hastings Banda’s one-party rule but has since been in opposition.

The other main candidate contesting the election is Mutharika’s own deputy president Saulos Chilima.

Nandin Patel, political science lecturer at the Catholic University in Malawi, told AFP that the close election count could be “very contentious”.

Malawi has a “winner takes all” system and in 2014 Mutharika won with just 36 per cent of the vote.

He came to power in the aid-dependent country vowing to tackle corruption after the “Cashgate” scandal erupted a year earlier, revealing massive looting from state coffers.

But his government has been dogged by several high-profile cases of corruption and nepotism.

Jane Ansah, chairwoman of the Malawi Electoral Commission, told reporters that transmission problems had slowed the vote count.

The National Initiative for Civic Education, which deployed more than 5,000 monitors, said in a statement that despite isolated incidents of scuffles and disputes, election day was largely peaceful.

Foreign observer missions are expected to give their verdicts on Thursday.

Under Mutharika, inflation in the southeast African country has fallen from 23 percent to below nine per cent, but still just 11 per cent of the population has access to mains electricity.

The election is the first since a new law forced parties to declare large donations and banned the once-common practice by candidates of giving cash handouts.

Floods Kill 66 In Mozambique, 45 In Malawi

 

At least 66 people have been killed and 141,000 affected after heavy rains deluged central and northern Mozambique, the government has said as it appealed for funds to manage the crisis.

“The government has decreed a red alert due to the continuing rains and the approach of the tropical cyclone Idai, expected to reach the country between Thursday to Friday,” said cabinet spokeswoman Ana Comoana.

She spoke to reporters late Tuesday after a cabinet meeting in Maputo to discuss the emergency.

The floods in one of Africa’s poorest countries have already destroyed 5,756 homes, affecting 15,467 households and 141,325 people.

In neighbouring Malawi, floods have already claimed 45 lives and left over 230,000 people without shelter.

Malawi’s Meteorological Department has warned of more rains and flooding in the country’s south between Thursday and Sunday.

In Mozambique, 111 people have been injured, 18 hospitals destroyed, 938 classrooms destroyed and 9,763 students affected.

More than 168,000 hectares (415,000 acres) of crops were destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.

Authorities have ordered the compulsory evacuation of people living in flood-prone areas.

“Sixteen accommodation centres have been opened in the provinces of Zambezia and Tete to accommodate the displaced,” Comoana said.

“The government needs 1.1 billion meticais ($16 million) to assist 80,000 families affected by the rains”.

Mozambique is prone to extreme weather events. Floods in 2000 claimed at least 800 lives while more than 100 were killed in 2015.

Morocco Qualify For Africa Cup Of Nations

Cameroon supporters cheer ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier football match between Morocco and Cameroon at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca, on November 16, 2018.
FADEL SENNA / AFP

 

Morocco qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday when Group B rivals Malawi lost 2-1 away to out-of-contention Comoros. 

They are the sixth country after hosts Cameroon, Senegal, Madagascar, Egypt and Tunisia to secure a place at the finals, which will feature 24 teams for the first time.

The Comoran victory in Mitsamiouli in the Indian Ocean island state gave Morocco an unassailable six-point advantage over Malawi with only one matchday left.

El Fardou Mohamed Ben Nabouhane, who has been playing for Red Star Belgrade in the UEFA Champions League, gave Comoros a second-minute lead.

Patrick Phiri equalised after 53 minutes and Nasser Chamed scored the match-winner in the 70th minute on an artificial pitch.

Leaders Morocco and second-place Cameroon qualify from the group with the latter assured of a place because they are hosting the June 15-July 13 tournament.

Cameroon are involved in the qualifying competition to gain match practice before defending a title they won in Gabon last year by defeating Egypt 2-1 in the final.

Morocco climbed above Cameroon into first place in Group B Friday after beating them 2-0 in Casablanca through a second-half brace from Hakim Ziyech.

The Ajax Amsterdam midfielder broke the deadlock by converting a 54th-minute penalty and doubled the Atlas Lions’ lead 12 minutes later.

Although consistently among the strongest African national teams, Morocco have won the Cup of Nations only once, in 1976 in Ethiopia when the tournament was a series of mini-leagues.

AFP

Melania Trump Visits Malawi School On Solo Africa Tour

US First Lady Melania Trump (R) receives flowers from a young girl alongside the First Lady of Malawi, Gertrude Mutharika (L), as she arrives at Lilongwe International Airport October 4, 2018 for a 1-day visit in Malawi, part of her week long trip to Africa to promote her ‘Be Best’ campaign.
SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

US First Lady Melania Trump toured a primary school in Malawi on Thursday on the second leg of her solo tour of Africa as her husband poured praise on her work from back home.

A small handful of protesters held signs along roads in the capital Lilongwe, with one criticising President Trump‘s reported use of offensive language to describe some African countries earlier this year.

Melania Trump, who is in Africa to promote her children’s welfare programme, described her visit to the Chipala primary school as “an amazing experience”.

“Meeting those children and understanding their different way of life is why I wanted to travel here,” she said in a short speech afterward at the US embassy.

“I also wanted to be sure to personally thank each of you for the work that you do here at the embassy in Malawi,” she added.

Her husband tweeted: “Our country’s great First Lady, Melania, is doing really well in Africa. The people love her, and she loves them! It is a beautiful thing to see.”

Melania Trump‘s visit, which started in Ghana and will continue on to Kenya and Egypt, has so far attracted varied interest levels in Africa with few crowds lining streets to see her.

“I am very proud to see the first lady,” high school student Sharon Sibo told AFP after being among a group of welcoming pupils at the airport.

“It was very exciting. I thought I wasn’t going to have a chance to see her.”

At the primary school, the first lady watched dozens of pupils sitting on the ground in the sun as a teacher taught on a blackboard on the side of a building.

Melania Trump‘s visit to Africa is seen by some as an effort to mend fences after her husband’s reported comment that the continent contained “shithole” countries.

“She’s shining a light on some of the great things the US is doing in Malawi and Africa. I know she’s moved by what the United States is doing in Malawi,” US Ambassador Virginia Palmer told reporters.

Melania Trump met with Malawian First Lady Gertrude Maseko at the state house for tea before watching three traditional dance performances.

The event was to “highlight friendly US-Malawi relations” and the pair’s “shared interest in helping children and, in particular, helping girls in school”, according to the White House.

On Wednesday, she visited a former slave trading fort in Ghana after arriving in Africa from Washington on Tuesday.

The first lady later left Malawi for Kenya.

AFP

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 VP Pledges To Probe Govt Officials, If Elected

Map of Malawi

 

Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima, who has quit the ruling party and plans to run for president, says his administration would investigate alleged corruption among officials of the current government and anyone at fault “will not be spared”.

The impoverished southern African nation has been rocked by corruption scandals over the last decade, and the issue has resurfaced in the run-up to national elections next year.

Chilima, who quit the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) last week in protest at alleged corruption, is seen as the biggest threat to President Peter Mutharika in 2019 polls for president, parliament and ward councillors.

“Anyone found to have corruptly amassed wealth will not be spared,” Chilima told Reuters in an interview.

“If we get into power next May, I will give each person in the former administration who cannot explain his wealth 30 days in which to return the money, and then investigate them.”

Chilima, who had been a member of the DPP politburo, has formed a new organisation, the United Transformation Party, on a promise of clean governance.

Earlier in July Malawi’s main opposition party called for Mutharika’s resignation over allegations that he received a kickback from a $4 million government contract.