A security expert at Mzuzu University Eugenio Njoloma has said the Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) have merit in their warning to President Lazarus Chakwera that his administration’s decision to open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem puts the country at risk of deplorable consequences from some Arab countries.
Nyasa Times reported on Tuesday that the Muslims body has told President Chakwera that it is dangerous for Malawi to open an embassy in Jerusalem “as it may open a Pandora’s Box and attract some unprecedented deplorable consequences.”
MAM warned that “extremists would target Malawi that has been safe and peaceful since time immemorial.”
In a letter which MAM spokesperson Sheik Dinala Chabulika has confirmed its authenticity, said some assistances that Malawi used to benefit from the machinery of most of the Islamic governments such as Kuwait Fund, could be suspended.
“Consequently, Islamic charitable organisations that are used to assist this country through Islamic organisations in the education and sanitation infrastructures for instance, will no longer be there.”
Commenting on the development, Njoloma, a security studies lecturer at Mzuzu University, said though MAM’s position had merit.
“I think to say extremists would not target Malawi would be to underestimate international politics. Remember terrorists/ extremists only seek to send messages and not to kill the target. This is why they did not target Clinton in US, but rather US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,” pointed out Njoloma in quotes reported by The Nation newspaper.
He said there is need to further engagement for Malawians to see if the benefits of opening an embassy in Jerusalem outweigh the risks.
Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka on Tuesday said Malawi will open a full embassy to Israel in Jerusalem by the summer of 2021.
Malawi would become the first African nation to do so.
Israel considers the Holy City its eternal capital, but Palestinians want East Jerusalem, seized in a 1967 Middle East war, as part of a future state.
Former Malawi ambassador to Japan, John Chikago, who is Malawi Congress Party (MCP) member, has said President Chakwera should tread carefully on Jerusalem choice, saying diplomacy should be informed by international laws and history.
While a professor of international relations and director of African Centre for the Study of the United States at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Gilbert Khadiagala told the press that he was not surprised with Chakwera’s decision to open embassy in Jerusalem , because he was a born-again Christian and was more likely to use his authority to placate the Israelis and downplayed the potential threats from the Arabs.
The Muslims urge Malawi government to join the position of the bulk of the international community in the issue of establishing diplomatic relationship with Israel in Tel Aviv.
Opposition members of Malawi’s parliament have recently also raised concern about opening an embassy in Jerusalem.
But Chakwera has been firm on the move and justified his foreign policy decision, saying that it was not new in Malawi, as during the one-party regime of founding President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, the country also had diplomatic ties with Israel until 1994.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :