Malawi President Joyce Banda said in an interview with a newspaper Sunday that an attempt was made to kill her in 2010 during her tenure as vice president when she opposed ex-leader Bingu wa Mutharika.
Banda told the Sunday Times that since taking office in April, she had discovered proof that a truck that had crashed into a car in a convoy she was travelling in was aiming for her.
“I was in car number five when they hit the car I was supposed to be in. A truck came from the bush full of maize,” she said.
“I was denied access to the accident report until now that I’m president. I’ve seen that the truck was owned by the system. They hit where I was supposed to sit.”
She changed vehicles at the last minute after warnings from her personal security team.
Banda had fallen out with Mutharika at the time of the crash. She was excluded from his party in late 2010.
In Sunday’s interview, she implied that she would stand in Malawi’s 2014 presidential election, saying that more work was needed to clean up the “nepotism” of the old regime, which saw Mutharika’s brother Peter given the job of foreign minister.
“You must understand that his brother is still here and he is waiting for the job, and the brother has also sympathisers. In the course of the eight years that (Mutharika) was in power the one thing that got worse was nepotism,” she said.
“I have to be extremely careful … to clean up is the greatest challenge. I have to tell the international community that this is not witch-hunting, it is cleaning up, because nobody will be removed without evidence of theft or corruption.”
Since coming to power, Banda — Africa’s second woman leader after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — has put in a place a series of moves to boost the economy of the poor east African nation and win the confidence of international donors.
She devalued the kwacha currency by nearly 34 percent against the US dollar in May, which had been trading at double the official exchange on the black market.
The disparity had caused a severe foreign exchange shortage, as the currency was driven into the hands of informal dealers.
Banda also got rid of Mutharika’s supporters in government and brought back Malawi’s flag, which Mutharika had changed.