EU denies Malawi President travel ban claims

Head of the European Union’s Mission to Malawi, Alexander Baum, has dismissed as falsehood speculations that EU has slapped travel ban on Malawi President Joyce Banda.

The speculation were in some sections of the media after President Banda last week cancelled an official trip to Brussels, Belgium, in compliance with travel restrictions announced by Minister of Finance Maxwell Mkwezalamba in the week.

The EU head in Malawi told Nyasa Times in response to an email questionnaire that they were equally surprised by a report in a section of the  media that President Banda could not travel to Europe because of a aban, saying the reports  were  factually incorrect.

“There is nothing like a travel ban for anyone and this is also not the way the European Union or any state conducts international relations,” Ambassador Baum told Nyasa Times.

EU Ambassador Baum:No Europe travel ban for President Joyce BanDAt
EU Ambassador Baum:No Europe travel ban for President Joyce Banda

“The EU would have very much welcomed if President Joyce Banda had been able to come to Brussels,” he said.

“We believe that it would have been an opportunity for bilateral political consultations, but at the same time, we do fully understand and respect the fiscal constraints under which Government is operating currently and that the President wishes to set an example, even if it would have been important to travel,” said the EU diplomat.

Malawi has instituted a travel ban on all administration officials, including President Banda as a cost-cutting measure in the wake of the current donor aid freeze and the ongoing cash-gate saga that has rocked government.

President Banda however is currently on a tour to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend the World Economic Forum on a trips which is fully funded, according to presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane.

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