5 February 2019

Malawi: Joyce Banda Submits Her Papers to Run for Presidency - Touts Running Mate Jerry Jana

Photo: Nyasa Times
Joyce Banda (right) says at 68 years she cannot be at presidential ballot in favour of energetic Saulos Chilima at 45 (left)

Malawi immediate past president Joyce Banda who announced on BBC at the weekend that she is not running for presidency and endorsing State Vice President Saulos Chilima and his UTM Party on Tuesday submitted her nomination papers to Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to allow her to contest in the May 21 elections.

Banda has picked ex-diplomat and economist Dr. Jerry Jana as her running mate. This follows electoral alliance fallout with UTM.

PP announced its withdrawal from the coalition with UTM, Alliance for Democracy and Tikonze People's Movement after UTM refused to give the running mate slot to PP, according to a statement signed by PP spokesperson Ackson Kalaile Banda.

Introducing her running mate, Banda touted Jana as a formidable leader whom she knew from the time he was a leader of Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce when she was leading small -scale businesses.

"While Jerry Jana headed big business, I headed small businesses," said Banda.

"If we are going to transform this country, it will be about the income into the households. I was looking for a partner that has worked a lot in the economic social impact of the economy," said Banda.

When Banda was State President, she appointed Jana at the State-owned farm produce marketer, the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), as CEO.

"I present to you the running mate and future vice president of Malawi [Jerry Jana]," she said.

Before joining politics and PP, Jana served, among other public portfolios, as Malawi's ambassador and Sadc coordinator in Brussels, Belgium.

The PP presidential candidate handed her nomination paper to MEC chairperson Justice Jane Ansah at around 2:30pm amid chanting from supporters.

Banda, who ascended the presidency in line with constitutional order after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012, finished third in the May 20 2014 Tripartite Elections with 1 056 236 votes against 1 904 399 for Peter Mutharika and 1 455 880 for second-placed Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi Congress Party. Muluzi was fourth with 717 224 votes.

In the statement, the PP spokesperson said PP pulled out for a short-lived alliance with UTM because the Chilima-led party "failed to comply with the terms of the agreement and a spirit of solidarity that emerged between PP and UTM."

He said PP felt betrayed after five months of discussions between the two parties.

A UTM source confided that Chilima refused to take on board Joyce Banda's son and PP vice-president Roy Kachale as his running mate.

In her speech Ansah, a judge of the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal and a former Attorney General, said Malawians were tired of mudslinging and stressed the need for leaders to adhere to and publicise the election code of conduct.

While assuring that the electoral body would manage the electoral process with impartiality, she said: "Elections are a competition which no-one participates with an expectation of losing. However, it remains a clear fact that only one person emerges winner at the end.

Ansah said the race also gets intense and muddy, but urges the candidates to inspire first-time voters born after the year 2000, to vote.

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