On 27 April 2011, it was confirmed that the British High Commissioner to Malawi, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, had been expelled from Malawi because the President, Bingu wa Mutharika, was displeased with a report he had sent to Britain highlighting the Malawian President's increasingly dictatorial style.
In retaliation, the British Government has asked Malawi's Acting High Commissioner in Britain, Flossie Gomile Chidyaonga and her dependents to leave.
I knew this news was the beginning of worse things to come and all Malawians are really scared for the country: some rumours have it that Britain will stop all aid to Malawi within the next six months. The only people that stand to lose out are the innocent poor. So that you can grasp how desperate the situation is, below are some of Malawi's development stats:
In his second term, even his supporters have disputed many of his decisions: he purchased a $13.3m jet (supposedly a Government asset) which itself led to a reduction in aid from Britain and other countries (see below graph), the ensuing lack of forex has led to severe fuel shortages, press freedom has been curtailed, he spent $2 - 4m in 2010 on wedding celebrations for his second marriage (the first wife died of cancer in May 2007), he spent money that the country could ill afford on changing the national flag, despite national protest. With another three years left to his term, I wonder what else we can expect.
Bingu has bitten the hand that feeds us but I hope that Britain can see beyond the despot's actions to the needs of the destitute people that he is supposed to represent.
malawian wa ku UK
2/8/2011 01:30:27 am
this guy really proved what the british guy was saying to be true
2/8/2011 01:31:58 am
He did indeed show that he is not willing to accept constructive criticism and as such there is limited freedom of expression...
Maid in Malawi
2/8/2011 01:32:26 am
Good summary of the events and useful insight into the potential repercussions for us all! It is nothing short of a tragedy that as Malawians we find ourselves in this wholly precarious position. I only hope that Hague is restrained in his review of the bilateral aid relationship, and remembers that the relationship between Malawi and Britain predates the term, and surpasses the conduct, of this one man. More than this however, I hope Malawians appreciate that the president is our democratically elected leader and if we are unhappy with the decisions he makes, then it is incumbent upon us to find legal ways to hold him accountable for actions that do not reflect the wishes or the needs of the people he SERVES. This whole episode highlights the need in Malawi for a more effective, considered and cohesive civil society to represent our interests when our leaders fail as it seems it is inevitable they will.
My dear Malawi
2/8/2011 01:32:53 am
Reading your blog, I would say malawi is the poorest country because the other 3 countries had civil wars, and Malawi is the only one there with no such events, the others will surely pick up.
2/12/2013 02:43:20 pm
Its such a pity..
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I'm always thinking, debating, considering and revising my views - some of those deliberations will be shared right here.