|Zambia’s President Michael Sata|
Zambia’s President Michael Sata on Saturday rejected an invitation by Malawian President Bingu Mutharika to attend the COMESA Heads of State summit in Lilongwe because his counterpart had failed to apologise for having him expelled five years ago.
According to Zambia Watchdog, President Mutharika sent Malawi’s envoy in Zambia, David Bandawe to deliver the invitation and good well message.
“You are fully aware of the dilemma in which I am in with your government. Your government for no apparent reason declared me a prohibited immigrant when I went to visit an opposition leader,” Sata told Banda, recounting the 2006 incident when he was expelled from Malawi after visiting ex-leader Bakili Muluzi and subsequently declared persona non-grata.
Zambia Watchdog reported that President Sata told Malawi diplomat that until Malawi formally deals with the predicament; he found it difficult to travel for fear of possible embarrassment since immigration authorities there still regarded him a prohibited immigrant.
“Your government has not apologised to me or my lawyer in Malawi and therefore I find it extremely difficult to go to Malawi,” Sata told
“They bundled me and put me in a Land Cruiser and brought me back. Your government has not been courageous enough to apologise.”
The new Zambian President said he initially thought the Malawi diplomat was bringing him an official apology from Mutharika.
“I thought when you were coming you were bringing apologies,” said Sata.
“I would have loved to take this first international trip but the people of Zambia and everybody knows that I was deported from Malawi,” he added.
Sata, meanwhile, has sent Zambia’s Vice President Guy Scott, Foreign Affairs Minister Chishimba Kambwili and Commerce Minister Bob Sichinga to attend the summit
Zambia Watchdog also quoted Sata’ spokesperson George Chella saying Scott is also expected to deliver a special message to President Mutharika on Sata’s displeasure about the 2006 deportation.