Malawi stands firm over envoy spat

2011-07-18 22:04

Lilongwe - Malawi will not apologise for expelling Britain's top diplomat, President Bingu wa Mutharika said Monday, insisting the former colonial power's aid suspension will not create a budget gap.

"It's certainly not a possibility. What do we apologise for? Here is an envoy who insulted our country," Mutharika told AFP in an interview.

"That must be made very clear - we are not demanding an apology from Britain, neither should Britain demand an apology from us. You cannot be insulted and then apologise at the same time because we never insulted Britain."

Britain last week suspended budgetary aid over Malawi's failure to address concerns over economic management and governance in the latest worsening of ties since a diplomatic spat in April.

But Mutharika insisted that Malawi had not been singled out by London, despite the comments by Britain's Department for International Development.

"There seems to be a misunderstanding because Britain has apparently reduced 43% of their budgetary support globally. We happen to be one of the countries where they have decided not to give us budgetary support so it's not targeted against Malawi," he said.

"As a matter of fact, we are already having dialogue to resume our normal relationship."


While Britain's government is implementing a wide range of spending cuts, it has insisted that it will not reduce its overseas aid budget.

Ties between the two countries were strained in April when the British ambassador was expelled after a leaked diplomatic cable accused Mutharika of "becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism".

London in turn expelled Malawi's envoy to Britain.

"Malawi never broke its relations with Britain. It's just that somehow the representation of Britain here in Malawi didn't act in accordance with diplomatic practices and we said remove him and bring another one, that's all we asked," said Mutharika.

Mutharika said the cutting of budgetary aid would not affect the country's "zero-deficit budget" in which recurrent expenses like government salaries will be paid out of local resources.

"We have set our budget this year of €1.4bn and we are going to raise  €1.4bn from our resources so there is no funding gap whatsoever," he said.

  • Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-18 22:28

    Well done to the government of Malawi. That is what it means to finally throw off the yoke of colonialism, and that is what Malawi and the rest of Africa needs.

  • frankm - 2011-07-18 22:41

    Oh KUna-Kinte, you are so full of crap

      Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-18 22:52

      You have the temerity of an imbecile when all you can do is penned one sentence of insult.

  • OZNOB - 2011-07-18 22:41

    WELL MALWI IS JUST ANOTHER BACKWATER COUNTRY TRYING TO FLEX ITS FAT TO LOOK GOOD-personally england should remove its entire legation there leaving only a token presence , cut all aid as it is going down the drain anyway and see how long the country lasts without handouts

      Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-18 22:55

      Sir, the aid your countries give has the pain of an Arsonist's sympathy. You burn our houses down and then you bring a little bucket of water to help put out the fire. We are not going to pat you on the back for such "sympathy"! You donate less than $2 billion to Africa yet you extract over $100 billion every year thru your multinational corporations. You fund "rebellions" and supply arms, then you pretend to be peacemakers, offering to mediate in ways that favor your puppets. You force us to open our markets for your goods, yet you impose trade barriers for those products we are competitive. You do this to protect your farmers, but you never for a moment give us room to protect our industries. So, yes, Sir, we are much better off without your flimsy aid and your cynical "sympathy"!

      Chibuli - 2011-07-18 23:20

      Kunta-Kinte, your "facts" are tinged with bias... you don't make an objective argument. You would make much more of an impact if you presented a balanced viewpoint. You are an angry person, and therefore your point of view lacks credibility. It's time to let the past go, and contribute to unity and diversity of Africa.

      Kunta-Kinte - 2011-07-18 23:44

      F..k me, what are you, a shrink. My sounding angry is an expression of (African) struggles, which continues so long as imperialism exists. "You are an angry person, and therefore your point of view lacks credibility" You sound exactly like Hilary Clinton re lacking of credibility. You never gave me any and as such you're in no way to decide on my credibility.

  • Charles Kane - 2011-07-18 22:51

    Eish, what a clown. Intolerant of criticism? Me? GET OUT!

  • Strategist - 2011-07-19 07:53

    Thank you Bingu wa Mutharika. You are a great African leader. It's high time we have many such leaders in Africa. If the west uses aid to push their agenda in African counties, then they better keep their aid and give it to their debt ridden citizens. We are tired of being manipulated by these western imperialists. Thank you Malawi. Don't ever bow down to any foreign pressure. These western bastards think Africa cannot do without the so called aid. They must shove it away.

  • Muenda - 2011-07-19 12:24

    Blackman you are on your own. Am impressed. Sick and tired African Presidents.....First Gaddafi defied them, Mugabe did it, Mbeki told them where to get off, now is Malawi. way to go. Straight talk shouldnt break any relationship. And I also think Britain has irationaly overeacted on this one. Power is not everything, unity is.....God Bless South Africa and the World

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