News24

Joyce Banda vows to improve donor ties

2012-04-25 12:29

Blantyre - Malawi's new president Joyce Banda vowed on Wednesday to allow foreign diplomats to work freely, seeking to improve donor ties strained under the late leader Bingu wa Mutharika.

Banda spoke as she named career diplomat Bernard Sande as the new ambassador to Britain, one day after London resumed full diplomatic ties with Malawi and ended a year-long diplomatic feud.

"I assure the British prime minister of my commitment to improving Malawi's economic and governance situation and to assure him that... all envoys accredited to Malawi will operate freely without obstruction," she said.

Britain's previous envoy Fergus Cochrane-Dyet was booted from Malawi when a leaked diplomatic cable showed he had accused Mutharika of "becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism". London responded in kind.

Donors have also suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Malawi in concern at Mutharika's governance.

Banda, who took office two days after Mutharika's death on 05 April, has already urged major donors to restore their support.

The suspension of aid is one factor behind Malawi's crippling foreign currency shortages, which has made it difficult for the country to import enough fuel to meet its needs.