The Malawi Government has given its ambassador to the United States of America, Edward Sawerengera, up to December 31, 2021, to depart Washington DC or risk being reported to the US Department for deportation.
The government – through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – is accusing Sawerengera of obstructing his recall, an accusation the envoy is vehemently denying.
In a letter to the envoy dated December 15, 2021, the ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS), Dr. Luckie Kanyamula Sikwese, reminds Sawerengera that “you strongly refuted to have been obstructing the ministry’s efforts to have your recall implemented.”
“You stated in this regard, that to the contrary, you had been prepared to depart Washington DC since 21st March, 2021, the date, which had been communicated to you earlier, as being your deadline to depart for Malawi upon expiry of your tour of duty. In the process, you accused the ministry of being unfair, dishonest, untruthful and malicious for blaming you for its own failure to implement the recall,” writes Sikwese.
The “obstructive” demands are further emphasized in a letter Ref. No. ME/WDC/ADM/DED2021 dated 8th December, 2021, to Ms Lisa Corwick, who is coordinating the shipment of the personal effects in question, on behalf of AGS Global Solutions.
“The demands include that your personal effects and those of the rest of the recalled diplomats be loaded straight into containers and be transported straight to a shipping vessel in readiness for departure to Malawi, and not to a warehouse.
“You have craftily linked this precondition to the clearance of vehicles by stating that for the State Department to release vehicle titles, a confirmation of a prior booked shipping vessel is required and this might take up to 21 days. This is despite the repeated explanation by AGS Global Solutions and the abundant evidence online and elsewhere that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain as containers and shipping vessels are in short supply, expensive and therefore hard-to-get,” a frustrated Sikwese rants in the letter.
According to Sikwese, this situation has consequently made it necessary for global suppliers and shippers to make alternative arrangements such as keeping cargo in warehouses on temporary basis while securing the containers and shipping vessels.
Sikwese further clarifies Sawerengera’s unreasonableness by insisting that their recalls can only be implemented if personal effects are collected from homes and loaded directly to the containers, which must then be transported directly to a waiting shipping vessel in this Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is against the above background that the ministry has reluctantly been moved to give you and all the recalled diplomats a non-negotiable deadline of 31st December, 2021, to depart Washington DC for Malawi.
“The ministry will, in this regard, proceed to issue air tickets to you and the recalled diplomats, including respective entitled dependents. The ministry will not be responsible for any costs arising from any changes to the air tickets nor shall it issue any other air tickets upon expiry of the ones to be issued.
“The mission is also authorized to pay all the concerned, their respective entitlements, including FSAs and rentals up to 31st December, 2921.
“The mission is, however, directed not to make any further payment in any form to all the concerned beyond 31st December, 2021.
“As the last and final resort, the ministry will not hesitate to deploy a Note Verbale to the State Department to request for revocation of diplomatic status and diplomatic passports, should it see it necessary,” warns Sikwese.
Sawerengera was appointed diplomat to Washington DC on a 36 months contract which expired on 19th April 2018 and was recalled by the Chakwera government.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :