Banda has been in a self imposed exile for almost 4 years over accusations of corruption, and did not give any immediate clues about her political ambitions.
The second woman in history to lead an African country, 68-year-old Banda arrived at Blantyre International Airport, the economic capital of Malawi, at midday on a flight from Johannesburg, South Africa.
I’m totally surprised that many of you turned up and I’m truly grateful that you came.
Several hundred enthusiastic activists, wearing the orange colour of her Popular Party (PP), welcomed her as she got off the plane singing “Our mother is here, the light must come back”.
“I thank God and I will continue to thank him for your love and support. Thank you for your support,” the former head of state told them, before taking up one of his party’s slogans “Malawites, it’s possible!”.
One year before the general elections scheduled for May 2019, Joyce Banda, who has remained the president of the PP, has confirmed her will to redo politics but has not detailed her possible personal ambitions.
“I am back,” she simply said, “and we will meet again for political meetings.
According to her spokesman Andekunye Chanthunya, Banda will from Sunday speak at a meeting in Malosa center.
In 2013, a corruption scandal known as Cashgate was uncovered in which senior government officials siphoned millions of dollars from state coffers, while she was president. Donor countries cut off aid, hampering development in Malawi.
Last July, police issued an arrest warrant against Banda, saying her alleged offences were part of Cashgate. But early this year, the Anti-Corruption Bureau said it had no solid evidence against her, partly clearing her of wrongdoing.