Covid-19 impacts recall of diplomats

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has singled out the Coronavirus pandemic as one of the contributing factors that delayed processes of recalling Malawi’s diplomats in various missions.

According to Principal Secretary in the Ministry Luckie Sikwese, a total of 56 diplomats who are serving in different missions abroad are expected to be back home by mid-September this year.

Sikwese, who disclosed this during an interface with the Parliamentary Committee on International Relations, added that some diplomats have exceeded their 36-month contract due to political reasons.

“The issue of recalls of diplomats is based on rules and regulations and when a diplomat is sent, at a minimum, is supposed serve 36 months and in a well-established services including ours that point in time we do sent notification to diplomats.”

“But challenges are that at times when the process of recall is made, there are issues that do arise, could be financial challenges like this time around we had issues of Covid-19 which even after recall we had to delay because hosting countries were not in a position to enable the shippers to do assessment due to lockdowns,” said Sikwese.

In his response over the development, Chairperson of the Committee Patrick Bandawe said despite that the Committee cannot take any action on the matter, it is a serious concern to both the Committee and Malawians.

“The concern of the Committee is that it has taken a lot of time since this new administration came into power and in fact the Committee really wanted to know why has taken so long.

“Of course we cannot make any action but it is a concern to us as Malawians because we are supposed to follow the traditional way of sending and calling diplomats,” said Bandawe.

According to standards, a diplomat is supposed to be recalled after serving a minimum of 36 months.
Meanwhile, the Public Appointments Committee of the House has confirmed 18 heads of mission to replace the recalled envoy.

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