A UN special envoy from the Office of Secretary General, Under Secretary General Sahle-Work Zewde, has for over 10 days been waiting to meet Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika to discuss the on-going impasse between government and the civil society.
Ms Zewde was sent into the country by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to lead the UN team in the on-going negotiation talks, a senior diplomat said on Tuesday.
“Her programme included presiding over the negotiations and also to have an audience with Mutharika, however, the President’s office keeps on rescheduling the meetings and its now over 10 days since she came in,” the diplomat said.
The latest meeting to be called off was yesterday [Monday], said the diplomat.
“Clearly, the President is avoiding to meet the UN envoy and this is sending a wrong signal to us and we are losing trust,” he said.
Government spokesperson and Minister of Information Patricia Kaliyati said although she was not aware that Zewde was supposed to meet the President, the fact is that it is not easy to meet the president.
“The UN should try to follow up but even in their countries it is not easy to meet a president,” she said.
UN Resident Coordinator Richard Dictus in an interview yesterday declined to comment on why Zewde has not yet met the President. He said he could only comment within the framework of the on going dialogue.
Dictus said that the scheduled press conference has been cancelled because discussions were still under way.
Mutharika’s spokesperson Heatherwick Ntaba said he has no information on whether Zewde was scheduled to meet the President or not.