Malawi President Peter Mutharika has cancelled his trip to the 35th Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled from 17th to 18th August in Gaborone, Botswana citing among other things Malawi’s turbulent economic malaise and “other pressing issues”.
Instead Mutharika, will be represented by a four men ministerial delegation headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr George Chaponda, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Dr Allan Chiyembekeza, Minister of Industry and Trade Joseph Mwanamvekha and Mnister of Transport and Public works Francis Kasaila.
“Malawi is going through difficult times exacerbated by the cashgate scandal which led to loss of budgetary support. If it was a company, we would say we inherited a bankruptcy company. So, the President has seen it prudent not to come for the SADC summit,” Chaponda said.
Speaking to reporters including a Nyasa Times news analyst Collins Mtika at the Gaborone International Convention Centre on Thursday; Chaponda said President Mutharika personally wrote the SADC current Chair Robert Mugabe and the incoming Chairperson Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama notifying them of his predicament.
“I would like to assure all Malawians that we will do everything in our capacity to make sure Malawi get maximum benefits from the summit that all citizens can enjoy,” Chaponda said.
The minister reiterated that it is the wish of President Mutharika that Malawi becomes a self-sufficient country through the active participation in the regional integration blocks like SADC.
According to Chaponda, of direct benefit to Malawi, the summit discuss: the SADC Parliamentary Forum, Chileka Airport and Kamuzu International Airport rehabilitation, the Green Belt Initiative and the Malawi- Mozambique Electricity Interconnector project, human capacity development and the acceleration of industrialization and value addition of raw materials.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :