Banda: ‘I Am a Free Malawian Citizen Now’
When did you leave Malawi and what have you been doing since then?
The elections were in May. After President [Peter] Mutharika was declared the winner I conceded defeat and I made a statement to the nation. The best thing you can do is to allow peace to prevail because, in most countries where blood has been shed after elections, post-election conflicts start with an incumbent or competitor who refuses to accept defeat. For me there was life after State House. So I stepped on to the global stage, to show that I accepted [Mutharika] as my president, to run Malawi without my interference. I am an international public speaker, so I went back to my speaking engagements.
I also had to look at the Joyce Banda Foundation, which is not only in Malawi. I had to sit down again with my team and look at ways of growing it. So on the margins of the United Nations assembly last year in New York, we launched the Joyce Banda Foundation International Africa Initiative.
Why stay outside the country for so long?
As a free Malawian citizen I can spend any amount of time anywhere. In the past, presidents have left office and spent many months outside the country. [Former] president Bakili Muluzi stayed for a long period in the United Kingdom with his family.