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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs