Thursday, June 7, 2012

Can The African Union Summit Be Taken From Malawi's Nose?

Now that it is official, Sudan asking the African Union to shift the summit slated for Malawi in July, what chances are there of the summit being snatched from Malawi's palm?
The answer, just like the question coming at this late hour, is simple: No.
It is too late for Sudan, though the darksomeness of Sudan's sadmost hour has, in part, been perpetuated by Malawi.
And Sudan may not be wrong to blame the wool in its eye on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member state's dilly-dallying in coming up with a clear-cut position. Had Malawi come fast on its tide, Sudan should have made its position clear a long time ago.
But, after all is said and done, it all boils down to fate.
Fate, of all things, appeared like a hunter-from-the east- so unexpectedly.
It was on April 5, 2011 that the monster from the blues came, and came heating in high places around 11:30 am.
Malawi's president, Bingu wa Mutharika, sat working in his office. That day, April 5, Mutharika sat waiting for cabinet ministers in his New State House office in Lilongwe.
He had met two ministers before 11:16 am that day, the second minister to meet the president that day being the flamboyant Information and Civic Education Minister, Patricia Kaliati.
After Kaliati came Agness Penemulungu, the last minister (junior) to see Mutharika alive.
Mutharika will never be there again.
Joyce Banda, Malawi's then Vice-President, was nowhere near Mutharika that day. They had developed bad blood between them over the years, resulting in Banda being fired from Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Banda did not stop there. She formed her own People's Party (PP).
Banda did not stop there: She started atttacking Mutharika's policies.
For instance, when Malawians were agitating for change in 2011, resulting in the July 20 and 21 mass demonstrations, Mutharika was up against it. In fact, he even organised a public lecture on government plans to avert the critical situation in Malawi.
But Banda, ever drifting away from Mutharika and his policies, spoke out against Mutharika's efforts to thwart the demonstrations.
It is at this time that Mutharika spoke out about Malawi's wish to host the African Union summit even in the face of the social and economic challenges.
Banda, as it had become predictable of her, opposed. She said Malawi was in trouble of sorts.
So, people always thought that Banda, given the same position as Mutharika's, would oppose the idea to host the AU heads of state.
Then, fate came.
Banda found herself as president.
She immediately changd tune, saying cabinet would decide on whether Malawi could host the same or not.
She later said cabinet, and governments such as South Africa, had promised to help.
So, in a day like any other, Banda changed colours on the issue of hosting the summit.
That is how she found herself cogitating about the issue of Sudan.
She has kept Sudan waiting, and believing that its president, Al Bashir, would be welcome in Malawi.
Only for Banda to tell the international media that Malawi has asked the AU not to allow Al Bashir step on Malawi soil.
Then, almost immediately, she added that Malawi would, in fact, arrest Al Bashir.
That is why Sudan has found itself being inconvenienced.
It is all because of Banda's indecisiveness.
Now, as many times before, an African fellow state is being embarassed in Banda's quest to please her Western masters.
It is so bad a diplomatic situation, and so ill of Malawi's Banda.
All because Banda wants money for the impoverished country. All because she wants votes in May 2014.
That means nothing will change. It is too late for the AU to change its decision on Malawi hosting the same.
It is too late for Banda to reverse her decision.
The damage has been done.  

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