Aid dependent African countries like Malawi, have a very unlikely ally in the name of Peter Thatchell, a leading gay rights global campaigner.
Thatchell has described as wrong British Prime Minister’s remarks that his country will consider withholding aid from countries that do not recognise gay rights.
“Britain is now one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights, and that includes how people treat gay and lesbian people,” David Cameron told the BBC after the Commonwealth meet failed to adopt a resolution on the issue.
Both Britain and the new Zambian President demanded apologies from Mutharika as the first step in normalizing diplomatic relation with the two countries with so much history with Malawi.
“The government of the Republic of Malawi hereby revokes, reverses and withdraws any expulsion or deportation order that was, earlier this year, unfortunately made or issued against or in respect of His Excellency Mr. Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, the British High Commissioner to Malawi,” reads a statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet.
Similarly, government has also withdrawn, reversed and revoked the deportation order for Zambian President Sata who was declared a prohibited immigrant in 2007. His only sin was to come to Malawi to visit fellow opposition leader Bakili Muluzi, the first democratically president of Malawi.
Zambian Vice President Guy Scot on Monday declared that he would not accept any apology on behalf of his President while in Malawi. He insisted that the apology has to come from State House to State House.
Mutharika, who is hosting the 15 Comesa heads of state summit in Lilongwe amidst hunger, fuel and drug shortages, is increasingly looking isolated.
Malawi’s President Mutharika has ordered oil companies not to offload fuel in the capital Lilongwe until after the Heads of State COMESA summit finishes on Sunday.
Malawi is hosting the 15th COMESA heads of state summit, amidst fuel and drug shortages. Out of nineteen invited heads of states, only five have turned up, perhaps a sign of how isolated the Malawi leader has become.
“Total Malawi was supposed to offload fuel in all its filling stations today (Saturday) but we just got an order that the President does not want his guests to see queues until after the COMESA summit,” one of senior officials at Total Malawi said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague is not happy with Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika once again this time because of the comments he made in an interview with the BBC over the expulsion of diplomat Fergus Cochrane-Dyet early this year.
Mutharika last angered Hague when he expelled the British High diplomat in April this year which consequently led to an aid freeze.
In a statement released by the British High Commission office in Lilongwe on Monday, Hague said that the expulsion of Cochrane-Dyet’s was a “serious blow to the UK’s hitherto excellent bilateral relations with Malawi.”
Mounting pressure on President Bingu wa Mutharika has forced him to announce plans to appoint a commission to investigate the death of a university student who may have been killed due to his anti-government activism.
The European Union became the latest group to ask the Malawi government to insitute and investigation into the death of Robert Chasowa, 25, who was found dead on campus last month. Their demand came after the Malawi Human Rights Commission applied for an inquest into the matter.
Malawi’s main donors from the European Union have asked President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government to investigate the death of Robert Chasowa, a student activist who was found dead on campus after receiving several death threats
Chasowa, 25, was a well known critic of the Mutharika administration producing and circulating a newsletter on campus that accused the President and his cronies of corruption.
He was found dead in the early hours of September 24 after reporting several death threats, his friends and colleagues have claimed.
The EU in agreement with its Heads of Missions in Malawi released a statement asking for an independent investigation into his death, a day after a pathologist dismissed claims by police that he had committed suicide.
Malawi’s main donors want President Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration to investigate the death of university student activist Robert Chasowa and bring his killers to justice, a senior diplomat in Lilongwe said on Thursday.
The diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said that the European Union member countries in Malawi will shortly be issuing a statement on the violence and the death of Chasowa.
“We initially did not have a basis but now we do after the postmortem report and therefore we want to remind government that human rights are an integral part of getting budget support,” said the diplomat
Malawi’s key donors and heads of missions have asked government to protect all its citizens, including human rights activists.
In a statement signed by German Ambassador Dr. Peter Woeste, who now chairs the diplomatic missions in the country, the diplomats also advised both the government and civil society to continue with the United Nations (UN) facilitated dialogue to continue and restore public confidence.
“Development partners call for the protection and safety of all citizens, including human rights defenders,” reads the statement in part.
The donor statement comes after the Malawi Human Rights Commission last month accused President Bingu wa Mutharika of inciting violence against critics that has led to petrol bomb attacks on the properties of two leading activists.
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika is sending his young brother Peter to London in a bid to restore diplomatic relations with London, a top government official has disclosed.
The meeting has been set for October 12 in London. Peter, the heir apparent and minister of foriegn affairs, will lead a delegation to the UK in new efforts to restore aid and diplomatic relations which have been sour since April.
British High Commission charge d’ affaires Kirk Hollingsworth confirmed that his government is expected a Malawian delegation in London next month. “We are expecting a ministerial delegation for high level talks,” Hollingsworth told Weekend Nation, – a local weekly.
In April this year Malawi, a former British colony, expelled British envoy Fergus Cochrane-Dyet after he called its leadership autocratic in a leaked diplomatic cable.