Hundreds of people have welcomed the former President of Malawi Joyce Banda on her return home after four years of self-imposed exile.

Banda fled the country in 2014 when she lost power after being embroiled in the so-called “Cash gate” scandal, in which government officials siphoned off millions of dollars of public money. The scandal led to foreign donors withdrawing aid.

Her return has been postponed several times most recently last year when an arrest warrant for her was issued.

Earlier this year, her feat to return to Malawi became a bit easier when the Malawi Anti-Corruption Bureau claimed they had no solid evidence against Banda and partially cleared her name.

The biggest financial scandal in Malawi’s history of more than $30 million helped push Banda out of power in the 2014 election.

Police have declined to say if Banda would be arrested, though confirmed that a warrant issued last July remained valid.

Banda came to power in 2012 when Bingu wa Mutharika, the current president’s brother, died in office.

She has spent much of her time abroad in the United States.

Whilst the country awaits Banda’s return, nationals have taken to the streets protesting against alleged corruption and poor governance under President Peter Mutharika.

Mutharika has been in power since Banda left the country.

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest and aid-dependent countries, will hold presidential, parliamentary and council elections in May – 2019.

Local media have reported a possible deal between President Peter Mutharika and Banda ahead of next year’s elections.

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