Malawi's President Chakwera to Visit South Africa Amid Bushiri Problems

A statement by Shepherd Bushiri on the Facebook page of the Enlightened Christian Gathering Church.
10 November 2020

President Lazarus Chakwera in continuing his "solidarity visits" will be on a two-day visit to South Africa for talks with his counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa amidst a background of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri's problematic stay in Pretoria.

Both Foreign Minister Eisenhower Mkaka and State House director of communication and executive assistant to the President, Sean Kampondeni have confirmed what they call "working visit".

President Chakwera will leave Malawi for South Africa on Thursday and will return home on Friday.

Mkaka, who is already in Pretoria, said he visit will help in strengthening bilateral relations between Malawi and South Africa.

"This trip will give President Chakwera and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa an opportunity to learn from each other as well as strengthen the two countries bilateral relations," said Mkaka

Government has not disclosed the agenda of the meeting between Chakwera and his South African counterpart.

However, South Africa is the economic powerhouse for the region and close to a million Malawians work and seek economic refuge in the Rainbow country.

Speaking Sunday night in Mzuzu while meeting with local traditional leaders, Chakwera said his government will find out what is happening to Prophet Bushiri in Pretoria.

One of the chiefs had asked Chakwera to investigate what is happening to Bushiri in South Africa and, if needs be, government must step in to help the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) church leader return to Malawi.

In response, Chakwera said: "Thank you so much for the question. I cannot give a full response now as matters are still in court; but I can assure you that I will follow up and find out everything and inform the nation."

Bushiri also known as 'Major 1' or 'Papa' by ECG Church worshippers was arrested on last month, which riled the Malawian public, asking government to intervene.

Some members of civil society and faith groups recently asked government to intervene in the ongoing legal battles facing South Africa-based Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri and bring him back home.

Malawi Watch executive director Billy Banda and Anthony Mukumbwa--a commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) and a close friend of Bushiri--alleged that Bushiri was being targeted by investigating agencies and receiving unfair treatment from the legal system in South Africa.

It is also expected that Chakwera and Ramaphosa will discuss issues of trade between the two countries as Malawi is one of the biggest importers of South African goods.

The South Africa trip is Chakwera's fifth State visit since he assumed office in June this year, the first being a day -long visit to Lusaka, Zambia then Zimbabwe followed by Mozambique and Tanzania.

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