Republic of Malawi
For immediate release
Ministry of Information, Tourism and Civic Education
November 25, 2015
ON ALLEGATIONS OF GOVERNMENT HARASSING FORMER PRESIDENT DR JOYCE BANDA
Government is shocked to learn that on 24th October 2015, the former President Dr Joyce Banda went to complain to the Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs in the State Department of the United States of America Government that she is being persecuted and her husband, retired Chief Justice Richard Banda Sc, wrote to diplomatic missions accredited to Malawi and other westen countries that his wife is being victimised by the Government of Malawi.
Further, the former President continues to claim that she is failing to return to Malawi because she is being denied retirement benefits, including accomodation and security.
Government wishes to inform the public that the claims the former President is making are false. All foreign missions and governments are being invited to make their own independent investigations on this matter. They will confirm the falseness of the claims.
As Malawians will recall, the former President refused to handover power having lost the May 20, 2014 elections and has since avoided to accept an olive branch extended to her, consequently shunning all public functions where she has been invited, and from September last year she has chosen to stay in foreign countries.
As the following facts will show, Government has duly provided to Dr Joyce Banda the requirements of a retired President as stipulated by the the President’s (Salaries and Benefits) Act, 1994:
Upon retirement, Dr Joyce Banda received a tax free lump sum gratuity amounting to K30 million comprising K12 million and K18 million being gratuity paid in her capacity as former Vice President and former President respectively. The payment was made on 29thNovember 2014 and collected on 12th January, 2015. However, she is yet to start receiving her monthly pension which has delayed due to her unavailability to fulfill required formalities.
Further, Dr Joyce Banda was allocated an official residence in Area 43, Lilongwe, as soon as she left Office. The house belongs to Full Gospel Church of God, P.O. Box 3053, Lilongwe 3 and is being managed by Knight Frank. The Ministry of Lands and Urban Development identified the house, assessed and rented it. After maintenance, the house was given to her in July 2014.
However, Dr Banda did not occupy it, making Government to waste tax payers money paying rentals for a period exceeding one year. Through her sister, Mrs Kumpukwe, she advised Government that she would not occupy the house as it was allegedly of poor quality and did not meet the required standards.
As a result, on 12th May, 2015 the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development received fresh instructions from the Office of the President and Cabinet to terminate the Tenancy Agreement, identify and allocate a new house to the former President.
The lease agreement for the previous house was terminated on 30th August, 2015 and the search for a new house started in the same month. A total of ten houses have since been identified and shown to the Retired Chief Justice Mr. Richard Banda Sc as follows:
- Broll Malawi offered a newly built house for rent on plot no. 43/743 but it was rejected
- Fred and Ted Estate Agents offered for rent a house in Area 43 and two others in Area 12 but they were all rejected.
- Ching’onga Estate Agents offered one house in Area 43 and two others in Area 12; they were also rejected.
- Castles and Weathers offered two houses, one of them newly furnished but these too were rejected;
- Auction Holdings Group had a vacant house on plot no. 10/120 and there was expression of interest to stay in this house but the owners advised that it was committed to another tenant.
As you will notice, all these houses were rejected as being unsuitable. To this effect, Government decided that the best approach would be for the former President to identify the house and notify the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to assess and rent it. The Ministry is still waiting to hear from the former President’s office if a house suiting her taste has been identified.
According to the President’s (Salaries and Benefits) Act, a former president is entitled to one Head Guard (Personal Bodyguard) and 6 Security Guards.
Government has duly compiled with this requirement by providing seven Police Security Officers to the former President as follows:
- 1 Senior Superitendent (Head Guard)
- 1 Inspector (Deputy Head)
- 5 Sergeants
These guards were actually deployed to the house that Government had rented for her, which she rejected.
Government would like to assure the public that the continued stay of the former President in foreign countries has nothing to do with victimisation or anything to do with her retirement benefits.
Government has no intention of persecuting anyone but where crimes have been committed the law will take its course irrespective of the status of perpetrator.
HON. JAPPIE MHANGO, MP.
MINISTER OF INFORMATION, TOURISM AND CIVIC EDUCATION