Joyce Banda: 'Leadership is a love affair'

Joyce Banda, the former president of Malawi, sits down with Adva Saldinger, Devex Impact associate editor, to discuss leadership and corruption.

It takes courage and a commitment to your citizens to step up and tackle corruption as an African leader.

It’s a scenario that Joyce Banda, the former president of Malawi, knows quite well.  

“Leadership, as far as I’m concerned, is a love affair; you fall in love with the people and the people fall in love with you,” Banda said in a recent interview with Devex. “If you truly love the people you will never want anybody to exploit them or steal from them.”

Banda, who came under fire for corruption during her time in office, said the only reason people knew about it is because she decided to step up and investigate and prosecute the embezzlement. And she paid the political price.

There is a crop of African leaders who are starting to take a stand. The question all leaders must ask, Banda said, is whether they came to serve or came for the power.

For more on corruption and what the international community can do to support leaders seeking to clean up their governments, watch our interview with Banda above.

Democracy Matters is a global conversation hosted by Devex, in partnership with International IDEA, to discuss accountability as a central element of deepening democracy. Visit the campaign site and join the conversation using #DemocracyMatters.

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About the author

  • Saldiner adva

    Adva Saldinger

    Adva Saldinger is an Associate Editor at Devex, where she covers the intersection of business and international development, as well as U.S. foreign aid policy. From partnerships to trade and social entrepreneurship to impact investing, Adva explores the role the private sector and private capital play in development. A journalist with more than 10 years of experience, she has worked at several newspapers in the U.S. and lived in both Ghana and South Africa.