President Peter Mutharika has started off his three nation tour of duty in Malawian passenger plane, the first trip since he was severely accused of chartering presidential planes when Malawi is sailing in troubled economic waters.
Mutharika, accompanied by First Lady Gertrude, stood on the doors of the plane to wave to top government and party officials who came to see him off before proceeding to his Business Class seat.
During a brief interview with the state controlled Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, Mutharika did not say why he had change of heart on his appetite for chartered presidential jets as just two months ago, he told Malawians that he would continue chartering presidential jets arguing he would not want to experience long delays at airports in flight connections.
This statement drew criticism from civil society groups who accused the president of becoming increasingly intolerant and arrogant.
Mutharika said at Kamuzu International airport that his focus in all the three countries he is visiting, Malta for Commonwealth heads of state and government meeting, in UK for a global investors summit and in South Africa for China Africa conference, would be on trade.
“These meetings are very important. Malawi will now have access to 54 international markets,” said Mutharika who said the UK summit will attract 800 international investors.
Earlier, minister of Foreign Affairs George Chaponda said the president would lead a lean entourage of 15 government officials.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :