News / Africa

Malawi Cancels AU Summit Over Bashir Controversy

Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.
x
Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.
Supporters wave flags as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses a rally in Khartoum, Sudan, April 18, 2012.
Gabe Joselow
NAIROBI - Malawian Vice President Khumbo Kachali said Friday the African Union will relocate an upcoming heads of state summit following his country's refusal to host war crimes suspect Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. 

Malawi's leaders have said they would have to arrest Mr. Bashir on an International Criminal Court warrant if he came to the country.

Speaking on state radio,  Kachali said the country's cabinet based their decision on “what is best in the interest of Malawians.”

Malawi has previously asked the African Union not to invite Sudanese President Bashir, but the AU has said it is not up to the host country to make that decision.  Kachali said the AU told him the summit will be moved to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the the International Criminal Court on charges that he masterminded a campaign of murder, rape and other crimes against civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan. Sudan's government has been fighting rebels there since 2003.

The decision to cancel the summit is both a gain and a loss for Malawi, said Billy Banda, the head of the human rights organization Malawi Watch.

“Malawi as a country, it has made a decision because it wanted to show collective responsibility with the cooperating -- international world on the issue of Bashir," said Banda.  "But for Malawi, we are concerned because most Malawians would have had the opportunity to exchange and have interactions with many other leaders in the NGO sectors, in the various sectors, in the business sectors."

Malawi had reason to be concerned about the implications of a Bashir visit.

The country drew criticism from rights groups and international donors when it hosted Mr. Bashir for another regional summit last year, during the administration of the late Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika.

A U.S. development agency cited that visit in its decision to freeze $350 million in aid to Malawi.

Mr. Mutharika died of a heart attack in April, and his successor, President Joyce Banda, has been seeking to improve international relations.

Malawian opposition leader Kamuzu Chibambo of the People's Transformation Party said he supports the government's decision, and blames the African Union for not being willing to compromise.

“I must say that I'm disappointed that the AU would take such a harsh measure on account of one country and one head of state," Chibambo said. "When you look at the developments that have led to the arrest warrant being issued, I think all of us, we share those concerns."

At least two other African nations, South Africa and Zambia, have promised to arrest the Sudanese president if he tries to visit.  Countries that Mr. Bashir has visited since the ICC warrant was issued include Kenya, China, Chad, Djibouti, Libya, and Egypt.

Lameck Masina contributed to this report from Blantyre, Malawi.


Related: analyst Hussein Solomon of the U. of Free State (South Africa)
Related: analyst Hussein Solomon of the U. of Free State (South Africa)i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X



 

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joe Flomo Matthew from: Cleveland, Ohio USA
June 09, 2012 2:38 PM
Thank you Malawi. For once an African nation has stood among the crowd and said NO! You are an independent nation and no one should tell you what to do. Let those cowards take their toothless summit to Addis Ababa. You have won admirations around the world. I think your action speaks volume and can only be viewed as being independent.


by: African from: Africa
June 08, 2012 3:27 PM
Time for Jean Ping to vacate and let another leader take over the mantle from Mr. Ping, for he has done enough for Africa during his tenure, and his services are highly appreciated. We would have liked to keep him for another term, however, the direction the continent takes requires more upto date leadership with the nation's backing. Its my humble opinion that South Africa has presented the most qualified candidate for the position, hence we ought to endorse her to guide Africa in the coming period.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid