The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has announced that President Peter Mutharika will return home on Monday from New York, United States of America (USA), where he attended the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (Unga).
The announcement breaks the silence and comes barely a day after several media houses, including The Nation and Capital Radio, reported that government officials were tight-lipped on the precise day the President would return home.
In a brief statement on the presidential public programme issued yesterday, Chief Secretary to the OPC Lloyd Muhara said Mutharika is expected to arrive home at 12.30pm on Monday through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.
The President left the country for New York on September 15 with a reported 19-member delegation for the annual general assembly held from September 19 to 25.
Most leaders, including those of neighbouring Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa returned last week immediately after they addressed the general assembly.
Mutharika addressed the UN General Assembly on September 20 but, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Emmanuel Fabiano, he remained in New York to attend multilateral and bilateral meetings.
Besides attending the Unga, Mutharika was also expected to make at least 12 statements in other several side event meetings.
University of Malawi’s (Unima) Chancellor College political scientist Ernest Thindwa described the President’s prolonged stay in the US as “very expensive” for a nation whose economy is wobbling.
During the 71st Session of Unga last year, Mutharika’s trip was also shrouded in secrecy after he took nearly a month to return home after the general assembly. n