Malawi's Joyce Banda discards presidential jet in order to save lives

February 3, 2013

This week, Malawi’s Presidential jet was put on the auction block. President Joyce Banda is selling the $13.3 million (£8.5 million) jet to pay for essential services for her country’s poorest people, and help mitigate the currency devaluation her country is suffering.

Originally purchased by then-President Mutharika in 2009, who claimed the jet would be cheaper to run than chartering planes, the jet represents the excesses he afforded himself as President. Amid allegations of corruption and cronyism, and as Malawi suffered severe shortages of foreign currency and fuel, President Mutharika died suddenly of a heart attack in April 2012. Joyce Banda became the first female President in southern Africa, despite attempts by Mutharika’s allies to deny her the office. Since President Banda took office, she has been trying to restore the faith of the people and the west in Malawi’s future. She has appointed a new cabinet, fired the police chief, announced the lifting of a ban on homosexuality and restored the country’s independence-era flag.

The presidential jet, a 14-seat Dassault Falcon 900EX will be sold to the highest bidder on February 20th, after bids are read aloud in the presence of the public. It is encouraging that President Banda is fulfilling her commitment to focus on those most in need in her country, and using her nation’s scarce resources in more effective ways.