Malawian ex-leader Joyce Banda 'readying for 2019 election'

Blantyre- Exiled Malawian former president Joyce Banda is reportedly preparing to come back to the southern African country in preparation for the 2019 elections, a report said on Sunday.

According to Nyasa Times, Banda's People's Party (PP) said she was preparing to launch her political return soon.

Banda went on a self-imposed exile after losing the country's election to her rival President Peter Mutharika in 2014.

"She will be coming, though I cannot say when but for sure she will vie for the presidency in the 2019 elections and she will win," PP's northern region governor Makwenda Chunga Chunga was quoted as saying.

This came amid speculation on president Mutharika's health.

Reports on Saturday indicated that Mutharika's prolonged stay abroad following the United Nations General Assembly in New York two weeks ago, had triggered illness rumours.  

An influential quasi-religious body, the Public Affairs Committee had since criticised the government for the continued "secrecy" surrounding the president's continued absence. 

"Mutharika is a public figure, therefore, as a public figure Malawians have a right to know to [his] whereabouts,” the religious body was quoted as saying.