from MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – MALAWI is realigning the process to select envoys to represent the country in foreign countries.
This is to avoid the embarrassment similar to the one suffered after some of its officials were expelled from South Africa for involvement in the peddling duty-free alcohol by some foreign diplomats.
President Lazarus Chakwera disclosed he had relayed a message to his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, condemning “the despicable behaviour of a group of Malawians who have been expelled from South Africa for abusing their democratic privileges.”
“I assured him that the conduct of these individuals does not represent the values of my administration and the Malawian people nor does it reflect the warm and cordial bilateral relations between our two countries,” Chakwera told the nation in a televised address.
“In the meantime, I am pleased to report that even before this unfortunate incident, all the bad apples in our foreign missions have already been served with letters of recall to come back home,” the president disclosed.
It could not be ascertained how many officials would be recalled.
Chakwera said Parliament’s Public Appointments Committee was in the process of confirming the professionals his administration would send to replace those recalled.
“I expect those we have chosen to deploy as Malawi’s representatives around the world will do this country proud by the integrity of their conduct,” he said.
Chakwera said the selection process was “thorough, legal, meticulous and objective, prioritising our national interest.”
“This is a departure from the past practice of filling our embassies with cronies without due process or due diligence,” he said.
“As such, I assure you all that the stain that has been brought on our country by these underserving and unprofessional individuals will soon be a thing of the past.”
Last week, the foreign ministry assured the disgraced diplomats would face disciplinary action upon return.
It is reported they sold duty-free alcohol to bars and restaurants.
South Africa also expelled Lesotho diplomats involved in the same scandal.
In 2019, an audit report exposed irregularities in some of Malawi’s foreign missions, where some funds could not be accounted for.
The audit report for the period from 2013 to 2017 and shows fraudulent payments into personal accounts, advances and external allowances- these amounting to billions in the local Kwacha currency.
– CAJ News