Malawi: Why the British ambassador is persona non Grata?

By on April 28, 2011

Malawi has decided to expel the ambassador of Great Britain, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, following a quarrel between the two countries resulting from a memo that has leaked in the press. Mr. Cochrane-Dyet was qualifying the President of Malawi, Bingu Wa Mutharika, as becoming more autocratic and intolerant.  

   The Malawi government has formally informed the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Fergus had been declared persona non grata. While the British government had previously warned that this diplomatic escalation of the small and poorest southern African country would affect the bilateral relations. The Ambassador of Malawi will soon be leaving the country, and London will issue a formal statement on the announcement of expulsion, and that will have serious consequences for Malawi. The British vice-consul, Lindsay Mc Conaghy, even added that the governance of the country continues to deteriorate in terms of press freedom, freedom of speech and minority rights; noting that London remains the largest donor to this country where half the 13 million inhabitants live below the poverty level, with less than a dollar a day. London has already reduced its aid last year by 5 million US dollars after Malawi’s president purchase of a plane for 13.26 million dollars. Going in the same flow, all donor countries had stressed a month ago, that any form of aid could be affected, because of new restrictions on media, on rule of law and the uncertainty about organising the local elections. Thus, the Malawi will move from aid recipient country to  “Orders and instructions recipient” in the name of the money to be allowed in good governance.

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