30 March 2014

Malawi: Allegations Swirl As Joyce Banda Seeks to Retain Power in Malawi


It's only a few months before Malawi's presidential elections, and the race is close - too close for comfort for Joyce Banda, who is desperate to prove her presidency was not just a fortunate coincidence.

The pressure is on, and with it some unforgiving media scrutiny.

Banda, however, is not doing herself any favours. She's already broken rule number one for free and fair elections: don't, whatever happens, get the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission involved. By SIMON ALLISON.

In 2012, Joyce Banda got lucky. She was never supposed to be president of Malawi. She wasn't even supposed to be vice-president, at least according to then-President Bingu wa Mutharika, who tried to remove her from the position on several occasions (he failed because to do so would have been unconstitutional).

But then Mutharika died, suddenly, and Banda - having played her cards right, and ensured the military stayed on her side - was thrust into the top job, as per the legal succession.

This was an earthquake in Malawian politics. Banda was no longer even a member of the ruling party, and parliamentarians suddenly rushed to join her new People's party. Many of the old guard, secure under Mutharika's increasingly authoritarian rule ...


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