Malawi leader denies declaring UK envoy persona non grata

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has denied that he declared Britain High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet- persona non grata after a confidential memo which criticised and questioned his leadership was leaked.

“We did not expel him,” Mutharika said on BBC Have Your Say programme aired on Thursday.

Mutharika – without shame at all – claimed Her Majesty’s envoy “was never declared persona non grata” despite giving him removal orders from the country.

The President said the media was responsible for coining such a legal term used in diplomacy when a country expels an envoy. He however contradicted himself when he indicated that Malawi did not want Cochrane-Dyet to continue serving as UK envoy, effectively meaning he was persona non grata.

Mutharika: No apologies to UK

Mutharika noted that it was Britain which “officially declared” the country’s deputy ambassador Flossie Gomile Chidyaonga persona non grata in the diplomatic row.

Britain also withdrew all budgetary support to Malawi when its High Commissioner was expelled from the southern African country.

“We would like to regard Britain as one of our relatives not necessary as a cousin but a relative,” said Mutharika. “We didn’t step on Britain toes.”

President said Malawi government “would like to have continued relations” with UK government.

Mutharika told the BBC that he has indeed dispatched a high powered delegation to London or talks with the British Government to restore full diplomatic relations with Malawi.

“On our part we are ready to send ambassador and a deputy,” said Mutharika.

He however stressed that Malawi “will not apologise”.

“We are not in the wrong. Britain is not wrong,” he said.

Britain also withdrew all budgetary support to Malawi when its High Commissioner was expelled from the southern African country.

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