Malawian foreign minister Eisenhower Mkaka is dominating news in South Africa media is reporting that he behaved strangely during President Lazarus Chakwera’s visit to South Africa and caused a scene when he was not allowed to board the plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
Mkaka was part of Chakwera’s advance mission, which meant he arrived in South Africa earlier than the Malawian president, who arrived on Thursday and disembarked at OR Tambo International Airport.
According to law, only the 17 members of Chakwera’s delegation who had disembarked at Waterkloof were allowed to fly from there again. When Chakwera wanted to leave on Friday, there were 65 members in his delegation in total, but the South Africans stood firm on the law.
The Daily Marverick reports that Mkaka, who is also secretary general of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) of President Chakwera was “literally spitting fire, as if he was planning something that didn’t work out.”
Mkaka was eventually forced to go to OR Tambo with the rest of the delegation to embark from there, causing a massive delay.
Nyasa Times reported on Sunday that Mkaka met Prophet Shephered Bushiri the Enlightened Church Gathering (ECG) church founder in South Africa on Tuesday, a day before Bushiri is reported to have left the country. Mkaka, however, told BBC reporter Nomsa Maseko that Bushiri’s return to Malawi “was done in his personal capacity and [he] received no help through official channels.”
Meanwhile, Mkaka continues to dominate the news in the reputable Daily Marverick news over his ministry issuing a stinging statement complaining that the departure of Chakwera’s aircraft from Waterkloof Air Force Base on Friday had been delayed by seven hours, mainly because South African authorities wouldn’t allow the Malawian foreign minister and some other officials to board.
The Malawi government said the delay had been caused by SA’s “inexplicable refusal” to allow Chakwera’s advance party to board his plane at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
The statement said South African authorities had cited “unspecified security reasons” for its refusal. Pretoria had initially also refused — “for no apparent reason” — to allow the Malawians to fly the presidential plane to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to pick up the advance party. But it had eventually allowed that after several more hours of delay.
Malawi said it was “justified in its dissatisfaction with the unspecified security reasons cited for the refusal”. It said Chakwera’s plane had been parked at Waterkloof military airbase, a highly secure facility, throughout his visit.
The statement also complained that the passports and luggage of the advance team had been thoroughly checked by uniformed police officers and not immigration officers.
It said that all the Malawian delegation’s luggage had been loaded on to Chakwera’s plane by South African military personnel and at the time of the scheduled departure of the plane at 3.30pm, there had been dozens of SA security personnel on the ground, who inspected the plane, its cargo and every passenger on entry.
These “unacceptable and unsatisfactory” security procedures and the delay they caused had “breached diplomatic protocols commensurate with the dignity of President Chakwera’s office and person”. However, the Malawi government welcomed the SA government’s statement “exculpating President Chakwera from false allegations dominating the South African media that his presidential plane was used as a conduit for trafficking two Malawians wanted by South African authorities”.
But the statement complained that Pretoria had not acknowledged that its treatment of Chakwera on his departure was “improper and incongruous to the warm hospitality he received upon his arrival”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :