Death threats and a ‘ghost warrant’ – why is Malawi hounding Joyce Banda? | Cherie Blair

The rule of law is failing in this important African state, as the former president is forced to stay in exile amid a culture of fear and impunity

• Cherie Blair is the founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

A country of spectacular natural beauty, boasting one of Africa’s Great Lakes, sprawling forests and the mist-laced Shire Highlands, Malawi is a small land-locked country in east Africa. It is rarely in the spotlight and, even then, it’s most likely because of a celebrity sighting: Madonna has adopted four Malawian children and visited most recently to build a paediatric hospital; Prince Harry is a regular, lately volunteering in the relocation of elephants with the NGO African Parks.

While Malawi does not enjoy the same international attention as heavyweights South Africa, Nigeria or Kenya, it is a regional leader boasting the first elected female vice-president of any African country, and only the second country on the continent to have a female president, Joyce Banda, whom I have known for many years.

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