Banda not attending AU summit

2012-06-15 16:16

Lilongwe - Malawi President Joyce Banda will not attend the African Union summit which was moved to Ethiopia after she said her country did not want to host Sudan's leader, wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges.

Banda, who has been president since April, has been trying to woo back overseas donors which froze hundreds of millions of dollars of aid under her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika. Mutharika picked fights with Western countries and was condemned for a deadly crackdown on anti-government protesters.

A few weeks after taking office, she asked the African Union (AU) to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir taking part in the July summit, saying his visit to Malawi could damage the economy.

As an International Criminal Court (ICC) member state, Malawi is supposed to arrest Bashir if he enters its territory.

The AU this week moved the meeting to the Ethiopian capital due to Malawi's stand.

"I respect the decision of the African Union to move the summit from Lilongwe to Addis Ababa but I am not attending the meeting," Banda told a news conference late on Thursday.

Recovery path

When asked whether she was protesting the AU decision to move the summit, rather than prevent Bashir from attending, she said: "My main agenda is to put Malawi on an economic recovery path and that's what I am trying to do".

The Sudanese leader visited Malawi last year when President Bingu wa Mutharika was in power, which sparked international criticism. Mutharika died of a heart attack in April.

The withdrawal of aid left a gaping hole in a budget that traditionally relies on overseas assistance for about 40% of its funding.

Bashir has been indicted by the ICC over allegations he is responsible for the deaths of up to 300 000 people in Darfur since 2003. He has denied the charges.

Banda's stance has been supported by human rights groups and the leader of fellow southern African state Botswana. “His failed leadership is like a cancer in his country," President Ian Khama said last month of Bashir.

The ICC, the world's first permanent war crimes court, has no police force of its own and is reliant upon state co-operation to have suspects arrested.

The court's chief prosecutor has called for aid cuts to countries that fail to detain Bashir.

  • Willie - 2012-06-15 16:20

    Good,a bunch of dictators and two faced greedy men

  • william.letsong.5 - 2012-06-15 16:31

    President Banda don't you wanna give Zuma a few lessons on how to run a country? Just make sure that you don't end up in the same bed with the fool.

  • Erna - 2012-06-15 16:40

    A lady with a mission which I am sure she will achieve. Better than our president/government which has nothing.

      keith.f.murphy - 2012-06-16 09:38

      What mission you idiot?? western puppet mission?? come on you clown you are the type of idiots who will sell you country for a parcel of elephant dung

  • Clive - 2012-06-15 16:56

    Like the UN, it's all just a waste of good oxygen.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-06-15 17:15

    I have more and more respect for her each day. Helen I think you should meet with her to start a discussion on a future African strategy.

      Fhedzani Sadiki - 2012-06-15 17:31

      I would respect her more if she arrested him. Right now she is doing this for money...not because its right.

      Clive - 2012-06-16 09:06

      @Sadiki: you might be right about the money, but it's for her very poor country, not for her own pocket - unlike a lot of politicians we know.

  • colin.dovey - 2012-06-15 17:20

    We need more women like Joyce Banda - why does she not emigrate to SA :-)

  • Fhedzani Sadiki - 2012-06-15 17:24

    She is not doing it because its the right thing to do. She has selfish reasons, money to fund 40% of her budget. She is not a human right advocate but a woman leading a country with an ailing economy. Lets not confuse the two.

      nspaynter - 2012-06-15 19:23

      She is also putting her presidential planes on the market. Another plus is she is moving to change the laws that make homosexual relationships a criminal offence.

      Clive - 2012-06-16 09:13

      And tell me, Sadiki, what's selfish about wanting money for her country? See my comment above. It astounds me that so many African people turn a blind eye to cruelty inflicted on their own people by despots and thugs like Al-Bashir, Mugabe, Obiang Nguema, et al.

  • gregory.f.dean - 2012-06-15 17:42

    Now that's a Leader to follow

  • nspaynter - 2012-06-15 18:11

    Here is an African leader who makes sense at last. African leaders, including our SA President, are not prepared to put their foot down when other African leaders digress. Good for President Banda. Perhaps it's time to get a woman President in our country. One with balls.

      nspaynter - 2012-06-15 18:12

      Perhaps a black version of Helen Zille........

  • Colin - 2012-06-15 18:11

    "My main agenda is to put Malawi on an economic recovery path and that's what I am trying to do". So how does not attending an AU summit meeting do this? It is clear that this African so-called president is pandering to the whims of the world's greatest war criminals-all these Western governments who kill millions in the underdeveloped and developing world directly through illegitimate wars, and indirectly through the economic rape of these areas of the globe. She will learn in time that rolling over and playing servant does not guarantee anything more than crumbs from their collective table. Their voracious appetites can never be appeased!

      nspaynter - 2012-06-15 19:19

      Uganda and Botswana have both made the decision to woo investment from the West. They are now both doing well. Botswana has an unemployment rate of 6% Uganda is now at 4% with a growth rate of 5%. Our unemployment rate has hit 25%. Zim is over 90% Which would you prefer?

      millionwatts1 - 2012-06-16 10:46

      @nspaynter, then would you prefer to live in Uganda to Zimbabwe or South Africa. Personally I would live in Zim than Uganda. Definitely I would prefer South Africa to Botswana.

      nspaynter - 2012-06-16 13:12

      @millionwatts1. I would prefer to live in Uganda or Botsawana rather than Zim. But when it's South Africa, it's SA warts and all. I was born here and this is my country and I long to see it work. I have relatives and friends who have left and made better lives in the UK, USA and Australia and NZ. Good luck to them. But many are missing SA. I am rooting for SA! And not just for me, but for all South Africans.

      millionwatts1 - 2012-06-16 15:42

      Clearly you have not been to Uganda and Zim. The choice between the two is a no brainer but that's a different issue altogether. These miss goody two shoes leaders are easily manipulated and they are good for headlines but not to get the job done that's where I got a big problem. AU is a continental organization so its not about pleasing her european donors. Even they would have edged her to attend.

  • braamc - 2012-06-15 18:46

    Another waste of time African disaster the AU

  • NubianCzar - 2012-06-15 19:24

    Let her go to the EU summit then... Who needs her? Her uselessness and servitude to her new western masters are impressive.

      Clive - 2012-06-16 09:20

      How come an African leader is "useless" as soon as she cozies up to the West? How can you judge her as useless when she's been in power for only a month or two? Unlike many African leaders, it seems to me that she wants to SERVE her people, not exploit them for selfish reasons like Mugabe and many others. Do you approve of al-Bashir's butchery simply because he's an African "leader"? Must we all stand by and shrug our shoulders at people like him, or do we take a stand like Banda?

      millionwatts1 - 2012-06-16 10:39

      @CliveK,Given the history of the west in Africa and Southern Africa in particular you don't think anyone who cozies up with them should be viewed in suspicion? Many have tried it and cried bitterly later, she will find out that these are not friends at all.(Like there was ever such a thing in world politics anyway) she is naïve or down right stipid!

      Clive - 2012-06-16 12:58

      I take your point, millionwatts, but given the choice of the West or China, I would be very careful....... Malawi needs assistance, and she probably has little choice, but this doesn't make her stupid or useless.

  • keith.f.murphy - 2012-06-16 09:36

    Banda is corrupt under an umbrella with her party politics and puppet ideas to blind fold the Malawians with her crap to enrich herself.She is another puppet stoog for the western colonial vampires

      Clive - 2012-06-16 13:02

      Let's see in a year's time whether she's enriched herself or done some good for her country, then it will be up to Malawians - not us - to judge whether she's a "stoog" or even a stooge. You sound like an old-fashioned Trotskyite, by the way.

  • Jean-paul - 2012-06-18 20:55

    UN & other organizations are just there to colonize africans & the weak ; when they want to impose a decision on africans & other weak countries , they make an UN resolution binding 4 africans , when they don't need UN ( like 4 the invasion of Iraq or assassination of Gaddafi ) , they pass it by . WAKE UP AFRICA !

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