Archive for Malawi
President Joyce Banda of Malawi has disclosed that the Brazilian government has agreed to open diplomatic ties with her government. According to the Malawi leader, Brazil is ready to open its first ever Embassy in Lilongwe in six months’ time.
Malawi anti-corruption authorities said Wednesday they had arrested a diplomat accredited to Kuwait in connection with a K400 million ($2.4 million) theft that allegedly took place in Malawi two years ago.
Malawi plans to re-open its High Commission in Nairobi as part of its initiative to strengthen relations with Kenya. This was revealed after discussions between President Mwai Kibaki and his Malawian counterpart Joyce Banda who paid him a courtesy call at Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala. The Malawian High Commission in Nairobi was closed ten years ago but its property remains intact. The two leaders who met on the sidelines of the 16th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Heads of State Summit agreed to strengthen relations between the two countries.
Malawi and its former colonial power Britain formally re-established full diplomatic relations on Wednesday when London’s envoy Michael Nevin presented his credentials to President Joyce Banda. High Commissioner Nevin told reporters his presence “symbolised a new era and signified the re-establishment of the full bilateral relationship between the two countries” after a diplomatic spat that saw tit-for-tat expulsions. Britain’s previous envoy Fergus Cochrane-Dyet was booted from Malawi last year when a leaked diplomatic cable showed he had accused the late president Bingu wa Mutharika of “becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism”. London responded in kind. Malawi gained its independence from Britain in 1964 and London remains the biggest bilateral donor to the nation, where half the 14 million citizens live below the poverty line and on less than a dollar a day.
Malawihas withdrawn its expulsion of Britain’s envoy, asked to leave in April after he was quoted expressing concern about the Malawian president’s intolerance of criticism and about deteriorating human rights here. Britain expelled Malawi’s envoy and suspended aid in response to the Malawi order that President Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration described as “unfortunate.”Malawisays the British envoy is free to return. AlsoMalawirevoked a four-year-old deportation order against the president of neighboring Zambia. Zambia’s Michael Sata, elected president last month, had been an opposition leader when he tried to visit a Malawian opposition leader in 2007. Sata refused to attend a regional summit this week in Malawi because of the incident.
The Malawi Government has given the British High Commissioner in that country, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, three days to leave after allegedly describing President Bingu wa Mutharika as a dictator. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the British acting permanent under-secretary, Geoffrey Adams, on Tuesday summoned theMalawicharge d’affaires inLondonand conveyed the foreign secretary’s concern over the planned move. The matter arose following the discovery of a leaked diplomatic telegram sent from the British High Commission inMalawi’s capital,Lilongwe, toLondon, in which Cochrane-Dyet spoke on Mutharika’s leadership, thereby raising fears that political tension are likely to rise in 2014 after he steps down. President Mutharika, however, praised the British Government for its “steadfast” support of the former colony.
Britain’s envoy to Malawi has been asked to leave the Southern African country after he was quoted in a local newspaper expressing concern about the president’s intolerance of criticism and about deteriorating human rights, diplomats said on Monday. A Malawian and a British diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to release the news, said British high commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet was informed he had 48 hours to leave during a meeting on Monday with Foreign Minister Etta Banda. InLondon,Britain’s Foreign Office was not able to immediately confirm that Cochrane-Dyet had been expelled, but acknowledged a meeting with Banda had taken place.Malawi’s Weekend Nation recently published a story based on what it says is a cable Cochrane-Dyet sent toLondon. “The governance situation continues to deteriorate in terms of media freedom, freedom of speech and minority rights,” Cochrane-Dyet is quoted as saying. Cochrane-Dyet also was quoted as describing President Bingu wa Mutharika as “combative” and saying he “is becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism”, and saying rights activists report a campaign of intimidation through threatening anonymous phone calls. Weekend Nation quoted Cochrane-Dyet as saying the Mutharika administration was increasingly growing impatient with the donor community with some ambassador being summoned by the Foreign Minister “for a dressing down, others [including me] have been summoned by the president’s brother for gentler delivery of the same message.” The governments of Germany, the United States and Norway have also expressed disquiet about the political climate in Malawi. A $350-million US grant to improve Malawi’s power supply network was delayed for several months until Washington said it had received “strong commitments” from the Malawi government to uphold human rights. The German government decreased aid after Malawi failed to repeal laws criminalising homosexuality, and enacted laws seen as restricting media freedom.