Zambian former President Rupiah Banda in Malawi: Mystery surrounds the trip


Malawian officials ‘guarding’ the room where Banda was said it was impossible for the former Zambian leader to have interviews with reporters, but they could not give any particular reason.

When contacted on what the former Zambian leader was in the country for, Presidential Press Secretary,

Frederick Ndala, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was better placed to have more information.

“Did you talk to him? Did he say he was coming to meet the president? Talk to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Ndala.

Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) publicist, Arthur Chipenda, also said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was better placed to answer questions on Rupiah Banda’s visit.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs PRO Quent, Kalichero, could not pick her mobile phone on numerous occasions. She, however, called back but when this reporter introduced himself, she asked him to call, but never picked her mobile phone again until we went to press.

The Ministry’s acting Principal Secretary, Ali Banda, said he was in a meeting when we called to seek clarification on the former Zambian President’s silent visit. He could not even respond to a message on the same.

When contacted yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Chaponda, said he did not know anything about the former Zambian President’s visit, adding that if it was an official one, his ministry was supposed to have all the information.

When put to him that Banda was using government vehicles, Chaponda said as a former head of state, there was nothing wrong for Banda to use the vehicles.

“He might have relatives in Malawi or visiting other people. Just recently, he also visited Mzimba during the coronation of [Paramount Chief M’mbwelwa]. Otherwise, I don’t know anything about his visit that you are talking about,” said Chaponda.

Banda visit comes few days after he had lost his bid to contest his country’s presidency.

The Supreme Court of Zambia blocked his candidature for the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy.

Following the ruling, MMD leader, Nevers Mumba, who was suspended by the party to pave way for Banda’s adoption, filed his nomination papers and will subsequently contest the elections on the MMD ticket.

Despite the court ruling, in-fighting continues to haunt MMD as some of its MPs have vowed to rally behind another opposition party leader, Hakainde Hichilema, of UPND.

“As MPs, we will not go backwards on our decision to support HH (Hakainde Hichilema) because that is what we had agreed to do. We are principled people. Dr Mumba was supposed to have consulted us after winning his court case but he didn’t,” MMD chairman Kabinga Pande was quoted by the media as saying.

“We shall stay principled and fulfill our promise to work with the UPND and ensure Zambia is liberated and put back on the right path to prosperity. The alliance does not mean that the MPs are joining or defecting to the UPND.”

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