Monday, 4 June 2012

Malawi President Joyce Banda Vows to arrest Bashir

 Malawi president Joyce Banda has vowed to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir  if he dares to attend the Africa Union heads of state summit next month in the capital  Lilongwe.
International donors  have since commended Banda for making what they term as a bold decision, but some commentators wonder why Malawi is being forced to ban Al-Bashir when other countries have been hosting him. 
Other countries such as Zambia and South Africa already made their positions clear that if he dares to visit their respective countries he will be arrested.
Al-Bashir’s visit in October last year for the COMESA summit also caused an uproar between the Malawi government and western donors, considering the fact that he is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide charges in Darfur. 
The development led to the withdrawal of aid and suspension of budgetary support to Malawi, while other developmental partners advised the ICC to punish Malawi. The US government also suspended the 58 billion kwacha-Millenium Challenge Corporation energy grant to Malawi.
The late former president Bingu wa Mutharika defied calls not to allow Bashir  in Malawi dispite being a member of the ICC. Mutharika’s justification was that Malawi is a sovereign state and should not be told what to do.
Recently President Banda wrote the AU commission to consider inviting a representative of Sudan instead of Al-Bashir, fearing that his visit would again sour the current relationship with donors.
Banda  made her position clear after meeting the UK secretary of State Andrew Mitchell who was in Malawi on a three day official to re-launch the development and diplomatic partnership which went sour during the Mutharika administration. 

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