Malawi: Former President Returns

Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi

Former Malawi President Joyce Banda has returned to her country after more than three years, where she faces possible graft charges.

Banda arrived in Lilongwe, the capital, on Saturday after spending three years outside the country, serving as a fellow at two think tanks in Washington, D.C.

A crowd of supporters was waiting for her at the airport when she arrived. Her spokesman said she would be going straight to her home.

She is expected to make public remarks at a rally on Sunday.

In the past, Banda said she would be willing to stand for re-election in 2019, but has not said recently whether she plans to run. She served as Malawi's president from 2012 to 2014 but was implicated in a corruption scandal known as "Cashgate" that erupted in 2013.

After she lost the election, Banda was subject to an arrest warrant and left the country shortly thereafter. Earlier this year, Malawi's Anti-Corruption Bureau said it had no solid evidence against the former president. Police have not said whether they will pursue the matter now that she has returned to the country.

Banda was the country's first female leader and the second female leader on the African continent. She founded the People's Party in 2011 and remains its leader.

The Cashgate scheme in 2013 involved $30 million that government officials were alleged to have taken from government coffers. The scandal resulted in many of Malawi's foreign donors withdrawing funds, which hampered development in the aid-dependent country.

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