The Malawian government is unhappy with South Africa after ‘vague security reasons’ led to President Lazarus Chakwera’s return home being delayed by at least seven hours.
Part of Chakwera’s delegation, which was with him during his visit to the country, was subjected to additional security checks.
“The South African authorities’ inexplicable refusal to let Malawi’s President leave Malawi with his advance team came despite being informed of the arrangement in advance, in conformity to a similar arrangement made in all the countries President Chakwera has visited thus far,” government said in a lengthy statement on Monday, 16 November 2020.
The government said South Africa had cited vague security reasons for their refusal, which prompted Chakwera to stay, as he couldn’t leave without his entire delegation. The Malawian government then claims it suggested that Chakwera and his delegation leave from the Waterkloof Military Base in Pretoria, where the plane handed. The advance team would then be picked up from the OR Tambo International Airport, however this was still not enough for the local government.
“The Malawi delegation spent the next six hours trying to reason with the South African authorities before the proposal was accepted”
Malawi: ‘We didn’t help Bushiris skip SA
Chakwera coincidentally visited the country the same time self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary, fled the country, in contravention of their bail conditions. This sparked claims that the couple might have run away.
“The government of Malawi is aware and grateful that a public statement was recently issued by the South African government, exculpating President Chakwera from false allegations dominating the South African media that his presidential plane was used as a conduit for trafficking two Malawians [Shepherd and Mary Bushiri] wanted by South African authorities,”
The couple are officially fugitives from justice after fleeing the country for their native Malawi on Wednesday, 11 November 2020. ‘Major One’, as he is known to his followers, made weekend headlines after announcing on Saturday, 14 November, that he and his family were now in their home country. The move was in contravention of their bail conditions.
They were each released on R200 000 bail by the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court after being in police custody for more than two weeks. The Bushiris along with three co-accused face charges of fraud and money laundering to the tune of R102 million. Some of their bail conditions included that they hand in their passports and report to their nearest police station on Mondays and Fridays between 6am and 6pm.