President Peter Mutharika will not open this year’s Trade Fair set to start Thursday morning at Chichiri Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre, the first time he has stayed away from the inauguration of such a fair since he became Malawi leader in 2014.
State House could not give reasons why the President has decided not to open the 31st Malawi International Trade Fair but this comes at a heightened political crisis following the disputed presidential election.
Presidential spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani said Mutharika had other equally pressing matters to attend to but did not elaborate.
Spokesperson for the Malawi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Millie Kasunda could not comment on the absence of the President during the inauguration of the fair, which will be held under the them ‘Achieveing Competetiveness through intergration into regional value chains.’.
But Kasunda said only three international exhibitors from Bangladesh, Mozambique and Zimbabwe would be attending because most of the foreign exhibitors who had confirmed attendance pulled out due to the ongoing political crisis.
“In terms of foreign exhibitors, the numbers are not very satisafactory,” Kasunda conceded.
“We would have loved to have a good number of foreignexhibitors.”
She said there are 189 local exhibitors in attendance.
The fair was postponed in June due to the political tension, protests and violence following the highly disputed presidential poll result.
It will run up to August 15 2019.