British, Nigeria envoys present letters of credence to Malawi leader

British top diplomat Michael Nervin on Wednesday presented letters of credence to Malawi President Joyce Banda at New State House in Lilongwe.

President Banda received letters of credence from Michael Nevin as new High Commissioner to Malawi marking the return of smooth bilateral relations between Lilongwe and London.

Late president Bingu wa Mutharika expelled former British envoy Fergus Cochrane-Dyet in 2011 for “leaking” a diplomatic cable that described Mutharika as a dictator. Bilateral relations soured since then.

But President Banda has normalised the relations.

President Banda receiving letters of accreditation from British envoy

The British envoy said he was “delighted”  to be coming back to “the Warm Heart of Africa” as an envoy after he served in the country earlier.

Nevin said his presence represents “the re-establishment of a full bilateral relationship.”

“In my short time here I have been welcomed with great enthusiasm as a symbol of Britain’s return. But the UK never abandoned Malawi, and we have every intention of developing the relationship further,” he said.

The diplomat says Britain hails President Banda “for undertaking a difficult but necessary devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha and the repeal of laws that restricted democracy and accountability.”

He said encouraged Banda’s commitment to continue on the path towards further stabilization of the economy and food security, to create the conditions for growth, to strengthen the rule of law and democratic practice and to tackle corruption and unnecessary government expenditure.

“By delivering such an approach, Malawi will go from strength to strength, gaining further international plaudits and support.”

President  Banda appointed Benard Sande as Malawi’s ambassador to UK and John Tembo, Jr as his deputy. Tembo is the son of Malawi’s leader of opposition.

Banda registered Malawi’s appreciation to Britain  for her development assistance.

Nigeria envoy

In a related development, a day after Nigeria’s President left Malawi after a two day state visit, President  Banda received letters of credence from the envoy of the western African country- Muhammad Lawan Gana.

This is the first time for Malawi to have an ambassador from the Nigeria. Malawi is yet to appoint its ambassador to the country.

Malawi-Nigeria Business Forum was launched during President Jonathan’s visit. The forum aims at forming economic partnership, Technical Manpower Assistance Agreement and Economic and Technical Partnership Agreement as well as National Cassava Commercialisation Programme, among others.

The Nigerian President also said African leaders should remove barriers that hinder freedom of movement between two countries. He proposed that passports and visas should be removed to necessitate free movement between Nigeria and Malawi.–(Additional reporting by Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times)

President Joyce Banda in a meeting with Mr Nevin after receiving his papers. pic by Felix Washon
Michael Nevin inspecting the guard of honor befor presenting his letters of Credentials

Mr Michael Nevin signs the visitors book while his wife looks on at the New State House. pic by Felix Washon
British High Commissioner inspecting guard of honour at State house
UK envoy being welcomes at State House by Chief of Staff Ben Mbewe
Malawi President Banda receiving letters from Nigerian envoy
Nigerian ambassador meeting State House deputy chief of staff, Thupi

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