Malawi vows to host the AU summit in July despite protests from Sudan

President Omar al-Bashir - Wanted

The government of Malawi is insisting that it will still go ahead and host the Africa Union heads of state summit next month, despite a protest by the Sudanese government that the summit should be moved to Ethiopia. Sudan is pushing the AU commission to move the summit after Malawi’s President Joyce Banda vowed to arrest President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir when he comes to Malawi to attend the summit. Al-bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court to answer genocide charges in relation to the death of hundreds of people in Darfur.

President Banda wrote the AU commission last month requesting that it should invite a low profile delegate from Sudan instead of Al-bashir, saying his visit to Malawi has “economic implications”. But the AU reportedly rebuffed Banda’s request on grounds that the commission is not mandated to choose who to attend the summit. Banda recalled that his previous visit during the COMESA meeting last year, attracted the wrath of donors as some of them withdrew aid to Malawi during the former Bingu wa Mutharika administration. She said hosting Sudanese president is a threat to the people of Malawi, as she is currently mending diplomatic fences with donors who stopped supporting the country financially.

Malawi’s information minister Moses Kunkuyu says preparations for the summit started way back and thorough consultations were made before the AU gave Malawi the rights to host the summit. “Malawi was duly given the rights to host the summit and nothing is changing” insisted Kunkuyu speaking to the local journalists. The summit will commence from July 9 to 16 in the capital city Lilongwe and is expected to be attended by over four thousand foreign delegates. Malawi is a member of the ICC and has obligations to follow its statues of not hosting a leader who is on the wanted list.

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