Four African leaders have so far confirmed they will attend the April 23 2012 burial of former Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika.
Chairperson of the Cabinet committee organising Mutharikaâ€™s funeral, Henry Mussa, confirmed this in an interview on Sunday. He said among dignitaries who have confirmed their attendance is the deputy secretary general of the Commonwealth, Ransfold Smith, who will represent the organisationâ€™s secretariat.
The four African heads of State are Mozambiqueâ€™s Armando Guebuza, Tanzaniaâ€™s Jakaya Kikwete, Namibiaâ€™s Hipikepunye Pohamba and Beninâ€™s Thomas Yayi Boni, according to Mussa.
“I have to make it clear that nobody has been invited [as yet], but we have notified various countries through their embassies and these four countries communicated to us also through their embassies,” he said.
Mussa said the committee expects more heads of State to make their confirmations this week ahead of burial at Mutharikaâ€™s personal Ndata Farm in Thyolo.
“Remember, the majority of them [heads of State] would fly in and out on the actual day of the burial; hence, there is still time [between now and their confirmations],” he said.
On whether Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir will again this time be allowed to fly into the country if he wishes to attend the funeral, Mussa said that issue has not yet been discussed by his committee.
Said Mussa:Â “I would say you cross the bridge when you reach there. What would provoke such a discussion without him showing any interest of coming for the funeral?â€
The International Criminal Court of Justice (ICC) issued an international warrant of arrest for al-Bashir on charges of genocide and war crimes during the Darfur conflict which saw about 2.7 million people fleeing their homes since the conflict began in 2003.
Malawi last year plunged herself into trouble for failure to arrest al-Bashir when he attended the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) heads of State and Government Summit in Lilongwe.