Malawi risk to face a diplomatic scandal with Zimbabwe after it has been revealed that the newly appointed Ambassador to that country Thoko Banda in one of his interviews around 2006 had called Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe an idiot.
The revelation has already sent the Zimbabwean Government working on a way to bar Banda from taking up his post due to the embarrassing comments made during his stay as a political asylum seeker in Germany.
The interview was posted on an online magazine The Foreigner, a German based online publication with the objective of giving voice to asylum seekers worldwide.
In the interview, Banda chronicled his nasty experience with the then autocratic government of Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda as well as his souring working relation with the both former president Bakili Muluzi and late Bingu wa Mutharika, developments he said led him to flee the country twice.
Banda referred to Mugabe as an ‘idiot’ as he tried to explain how he found himself at loggerheads with Muluzi and Mutharika who themselves were ‘dissidents’ and fighters for democracy and a new constitution during Dr Banda’s regime.
He explained that the last government (Muluzi’s), that he served (as a diplomat) and the people he was working with in 2006 were dissidents before 1994 but changed when they were part of the same oppressive system.
“You won’t hear about it in the West. You will hear about Zimbabwe, because Zimbabwe has an Idiot. I am sorry, I know you are recording, but they have an Idiot for president. This guy Robert Mugabe, I hope that he lives a very long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man,” said Banda.
He went on to say that the only difference between Mugabe and some of the other leaders in Malawi is that Mugabe hurts not only his own people but also foreigners.
“That is why they hate him so much in the West. Leaders like mine, they are cleverer. And I know how it works. They know, as long they are nice to foreigners they can stay,” he said.
Added Banda: “To say it simply, people who are in power now are interested only in their own business. They are not bothered about the poverty of people in their own country. Definitely not. And the West is quiet about this. Because it is not that important to them, right now. They have other problems to worry about.”
Full version of Banda’s interview can be accessed on: http://www.foreigner.de/in_thoko_banda.html
Banda was among the initial team of diplomats who were appointed soon after President Arthur Peter Mutharika took over and he was destined to go to Brussels to represent the country in Belgium and European Union.
His appointment raised controversies after questions came up on his academic credentials and in a turn of events his name appeared again on a list of diplomats released early this week and has been earmarked to go to Harare.
According to sources from Zimbabwe the Mugabe government has taken the appointment with reservation and a dossier by the country’s Central Office of Intelligence (COI) has already been forwarded to Zimbabwean President’s office for action on it.
Diplomatic experts have said that Banda’s utterances, though made back in 2006, were a cause to worry by the Zimbabwean government as it puts to question the relationship that will be there between Banda and Mugabe in the course of duty.
The experts suggest that as things are it would do Malawi good if the appointment is rescinded rather than waiting for a possible action from Harare as the country has the final say on who is to be in the country whether as a diplomat or just a private citizen.
“This is very serious revelations but it only show one thing; that Malawi is not serious when it comes to background check on such appointments. This also reminds us on what happened to the newly appointed Director of the Office of Asset Declaration Christopher Tukula who just days after his appointment was arrested on ‘cashgate’ related issues,” said the expert.
Soon after appearing before Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee, Banda who is son to Malawi’s renowned politician Aleke Banda, angered Mutharika with his blatant lies on his qualifications and home of origin.
Apart from his qualifications Banda is also said to have told the committee that he comes from Thyolo, the President’s home, yet all along he has been known to have hailed from Tukombo in northern district of Nkhatabay.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :