A Malawian diplomat who once reportedly described Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as an “idiot” told BBC’s Focus on Africa programme Monday that he has turned down the job of ambassador to Harare because he was opposed to dictatorship.
President Peter Mutharika named Banda as ambassador last month as he was initially earmarked to be Malawi’s envoy to Belgium and the European Union, but said he was not consulted before being switched to Harare.
“Someone like me is not somebody to send to a place like Zimbabwe, where they have a leader who wants you to endorse whatever he does with impunity,” he told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.
“People of conscience need to stand with the Zimbabwean population, especially those living in poverty and suffering human rights violations,” said Thoko Banda.
Banda has turned down the posting after Nyasa Times exposed his past interview where he made scathing insult to Zimbabwe’s long-serving head of state .
In 2006, he told Germany’s The Foreigner magazine Mugabe is an idiot.”
Banda was explaining his sour relations with Malawi’s former Presidents Bakili Muluzi and Bingu wa Mutharika when he launched into a scathing attack against Zimbabwe’s president in 2006.
“This guy Robert Mugabe. I hope that he lives a very long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man,” Germany’s The Foreigner magazine quoted him saying.
Malawi and Zimbabwe, both members of the Southern African Development Community, have enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations in the past.