Joyce Banda pulls out of presidential race, endorses Chakwera

Joyce Banda

Former president Joyce Banda has pulled out of the May 21 presidential race and endorsed Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera.

In an interview on Thursday soon after news of her decision broke out, Banda confirmed the news.

“Yes, it is true. But I cannot comment further because the plan is that we will address a joint conference with Dr Chakwera when he returns to Malawi on Saturday,” she said.

A statement issued by Banda’s People’s Party and the MCP, says the decision was agreed by the PP's national executive committee on Thursday.

“The decision has been reached after looking at Malawi’s greater and common good. Malawi is bigger than individuals. As such, we have set aside individual aspirations and embraced the greater and common good,” the statement reads.

The statement further states that discussions between PP and MCP started in 2015 after Banda lost the presidency and fled to the United States of America after being embroiled in a multimillion-dollar ‘Cashgate’ corruption scandal.

Last year, she returned to Malawi from her self-imposed exile, saying the allegations against her were politically motivated. No charges have been levelled against her.

In February, vice president Saulos Chilima and Banda announced they had formed a four-party coalition in a bid to unseat President Peter Mutharika in the May 21 vote, but the group soon broke up.