Malawi: Chakwera Coy to Censure Mnangagwa Over Zimbabwe Human Rights Abuses - 'I Am New Kid On the Block'

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba speaks to international observers in Harare (file photo).
1 October 2020

President Lazarus Chakwera has said he did not rebuke his Zimbabwean counterpart Emerson Mnangagwa, whose regime has come under international spotlight for human rights abuses, saying there were proper processes that need to be followed in tackling such issues.

Two civil society organisations, Youth and Society and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation- on Tuesday wrote Chakwera, asking him to use his two-day official visit in Harare to discuss with Mnangagwa on the need for his regime to stop attacking human rights defenders and respect human rights.

Speaking on Thursday on arrival at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe said he has had fruitful bilateral talks with Zimbabwean President but did not censure him on human rights abuses.

He, however, said the topic on human rights came up during the discussions.

"You know that there is a process that takes place. I am a new kid on the block. I am learning in order to know what is going on with our neighbours. The President himself last night responded to some of the issues," Chakwera said.

He, however, could not divulge more, only adding that he had "lengthy discussions" in private as well as in the presence of others "particularly to do with human development and prosperity in the region. Integrating trade, making sure that our people relate well and issues to do with security in our region."

President Chakwera, who will assume the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Chairmanship, next year, also had discussions with SADC ambassadors based in Zimbabwe.

Malawi and Zimbabwe share historical ties and before, both countries gained independence from Britain, they were under what was referred to as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

During his arrival, Chakwera was welcomed by the country's second-in-command Saulos Chilima and supporters of the Tonse Alliance led government from MCP, UTM Party and People's Party.

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