Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika who expelled British High Commissioner after describing him as “becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism” says he has accepted an invitation to the Queen’s diamond jubilee.
Mutharika told the British Guardian newspaper, that he would be visiting London in the summer to be part of the celebrations marking 60 years since Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne.
He is expected to be accompanied by First Lady Callista Mutharika.
Officials at Malawi High Commission in London expressed ignorance that the Head of State would be visiting and were caught unawares when Nyasa Timessought their comment.
“We have learnt from you,” said an official.
The Malawi mission has no High Commissioner. James Ali is the Chargé d’Affaires at the embassy.
Britain cut budgetary support to Malawi over governance and human rights concerns. But it has been channelling its aid to the communities.
The relationship between Lilongwe and London got strained when Mutharika deported the then British high commissioner, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, after a leaked diplomatic cable that branded him “autocratic”, resulting in tit-for-tat expulsions.
Mutharika still defends his decision, and told the British newspaper: “The question is, if my high commissioner used the same term in Britain against authorities there, would that be taken lying down? That’s all I have to say.”
He however said the new high commissioner would be “very welcome.”