Today, September 29, 2021, CDEDI held press conference in Lilongwe. The following is the full remarks delivered by CDEDI Executive Director Mr. Sylvester Namiwa
THE VISIT BY TONY BLAIR TO MALAWI IS VERY SUSPICIOUS
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) just like many well meaning Malawians, woke up surprised and very shocked on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, after learning from media reports that the former British Prime Minister (PM) Tony Blair, sneaked into the country for a scheduled private meeting with President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
To begin with, it is important to emphasize that any visit by such high profile people in the Very Very Important Persons (VVIP) category, is public information. Therefore, State House should have made a public statement, without necessarily disclosing what the two discussed.
This is not the first time the former British PM has visited Malawi unannounced. The absence of prior announcements of the Tony Blair visits, has now confirmed the reports that the Tonse administration intends to hire him as chief advisor to President Chakwera, a move that was heavily criticized and protested against by the country’s citizens, describing it as neo-colonization.
Apart from owning the Tony Blair Institute, the former PM serves as an unpaid advisor to the Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Malawians may wish to be reminded that the Rwandese Inspector General of Police, Dan Munyuza, was in Malawi recently, where he announced Rwanda’s offer to train our Malawian police for free, in undisclosed capacity building areas.
It is for this reason that Blair’s visit to Malawi has raised a lot of suspicions, especially now that President Chakwera is the Chairperson for the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
It is also important to point out that Blair was around during the Dr. Joyce Banda regime but there is literally nothing that Malawians benefited, hence CDEDI’s caution to President Chakwera to tread carefully, since the SADC, the African region, and indeed the world, are watching!
If truth be told, Malawi has the finest brains that are capable of turning around our fortunes without necessarily looking up to self appointed good Samaritans, whose interests and motives are not clear.
CDEDI does not think that the former British PM has anything to offer to Malawi. On the other hand, CDEDI believes that Blair’s closeness to the Republic of Rwanda, whose human rights record is not anywhere near a model, could offer anything positive to the Republic of Malawi in as far as tenets of good and genuine democracy are concerned.
If it were that Blair is an advisor that we seek to hire, then Rwanda should have been a shining example in both infrastructural developments and human rights record. However, it is not a hidden secret that there are massive reports of human rights violations in Rwanda, bordering on excessive use of force by the law enforcement agencies; unlawful and arbitrary detentions; internet restrictions by the State; lack of freedom of expression; human rights activists and opposition political party leaders being silenced through arbitrary arrests and imprisonment based on trumped-up charges; etc.
As they say, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are, the friendship that exists between Kagame and Blair is a cause for worry for us to see our leader joining the league.
It is against this background that we are challenging President Chakwera to come out in the open and tell Malawians the reasons why we need Tony Blair in Malawi as an advisor, when the voters gave him all the trust and power to govern for the next five years.