Bingu back in Malawi from an ‘unannounced visit’

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika is back home from West African nation Nigeria where he was on an announced state visit.

Mutharika’s visit was kept under wraps, state and independent media were not informed of the trip. But Nyasa Times on Tuesday exclusively revealed that Mutharika has sneaked out.

The President was also spotted in Nigeria the same day with his picture posted on Nigeria’s State House website being welcomed by President Goodluck Jonathan at the airport in Abuja.

State House sources said Mutharika had gone to Nigeria to seek help from President Jonathan on the chronic fuel crisis the southern African nation is experiencing.

President Goodluck Jonathan welcomes visiting President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi to the Presidential Villa, on Tuesday. Photo: NIGERIA STATE HOUSE

But Minister of Energy, Goodall Gondwe, was not aware of such discussions.

Presidential spokesman Hetherwick Ntaba flatly refused to confirm that Mutharika had flown to Nigeria.

Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati maintained Mutharika had not left the country and that the picture and television footage which showed the Malawi President with Nigerian leader could have been “spoofed”

But Mutharika landed through Kamuzu International Airport on Wednesday on presidential jet, Malawi 1, lat 14:50 at the Cargo area which was cordoned.

The presidential convoy passed through Kanengo on the way to State House. On the motorcade included a black Prado  registration umber BR 6104, black Ford MG136A and  two mercs one with a Malawian flag and a  presidential flag.

No police sirens were used.

Recently, Mutharika also sneaked out of the country to hold secret talks with Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Government sources said the President was making the ‘mysterious’ trips to seek help  on Malawi’s fuel crisis.

Malawi has been hit by an aid freeze since last year when it’s key donors withheld budget support aid and the IMF suspended the Extended Credit Facility programme due to concerns over Mutharika’s creeping autocracy, which has resulted in economic mismanagement.

European Union (EU) has since warned that Malawi should forget about getting balance of payment support from its key donors any time soon in the absence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

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