Malawi activists attack Blair’s visit over ‘war crimes’

Two outspoken Malawian activists have taken to the social media to criticise the visit of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the country accusing him of “war crimes” like Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir.

Blantyre-based think-tank Institute for Policy Interaction (IPI) executive director Rafiq Hajat argued that if Malawi could bar Bashir from visiting the country, it should not welcomed Blair for his support of the US-led Iraqi invasion.

“Tony Blair visiting Malawi? If we could cancel an entire AU conference for AlBashir, how do we allow a war criminal like Blair to visit with impunity?” Hajat posed on  his Facebook page.

“We should arrest him and take him to the ICC – fair is fair!” he added.

Blair addressing journalists at Sanjika Palace. Photo Nyasa Times

However, there is no indictment from International Criminal Court on Blair.

Another activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire posted: “ Tony Blair is only in Malawi to make money. He has raked in millions through his travels and Malawians must not get excited. Sarkozy (ex-France president)  is also doing the same and soon you will see the pint sized French visiting Malawi.”

Anti-Blair comments were also posted on Nyasa Times by readers, mostly using pseudo names.

In South Africa,  peace icon Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu snubbed Blair at the leadership seminar over his decision to send troops into Iraq but the former British PM said  today’s leaders faced the same dilemmas on Syria and Iran.

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Nyasa Times correspondents in Blantyre said there were no protests on Blair and that many people were “happy” to have such a statesman visit the country.

Blair has since offered through his AGI to provide “technical support” to Malawi “in the process of change and development.”

He said his organisation’s purpose is “not to tell governments what to do, but to provide some technical expertise.”

President of the Malawi Chamber of Commerce, Matthews Chikankheni told Blair the AGI would be “key to the success of local businesses since Malawi has massive opportunities waiting to be exploited.”

Chikankheni noted that local businesses“ falter on the way because good governance eludes us.”

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