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

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid