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Last Saturday on Talk To Al Jazeera, embattled Malawian president Joyce Banda denied that, 18 months into office, she has failed with regard to fighting corruption.
Not directly elected to her office, Banda assumed the presidency of Malawi last year when her predecessor suddenly died of a heart attack. But she is leading a democracy and next year, the people of Malawi will decide if Banda will remain president. Despite promises to clean up corruption, new scandals have surfaced. In September, an accountant in her office was found with $3274.40 in his home. Later an official with the environment ministry was found with $311,068 in his car. Then, the country’s budget director – her point man in dealing with government funds – was shot three times in the head. No one knows who tried to kill him but he survived and is in a hospital in South Africa.
To stem the crisis, Banda dissolved her cabinet and fired her ministers of justice and finance. But the scandals have already taken a big toll. Some international aid donors have effectively stopped giving money for now, further exasperating the country’s finances.
Despite this, Banda tells Talk To Al Jazeera‘s Jamal Elshayyal. “”No, we have not failed. This cancer has been going on for 15 years and the biggest tragedy in the fight against corruption is covering up. I think the best one can do as a leader is that once you discover then you need to take advantage of the opportunity, which is what we have done. We must stop it now.
“I believe truly that this tragedy you are talking about provides a unique opportunity for us to stand up united as I have done in the past two months and to say that one: we must face corruption, and two: we are the ones who must do something about it. We must have zero tolerance against corruption.”
Banda also discusses gay marriage, HIV/AIDS, and the upcoming 2014 elections.
For more information, visit http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2013/11/joyce-banda-must-own-fight-20131130105514858272.html.
Contributed By: Kevin Kriedemann – Aljazeera