Former British prime minister Tony Blair who arrives in the country today (Thursday), faced unprecedented protest in South Africa, where he was on an official visit for the past few days.
Blair, alongside South Africaâ€™s anti-apartheid icon Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, was scheduled to be among key speakers at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, but the cleric withdrew at the eleventh hour, according to the countryâ€™s online media.
Tutu said on Tuesday it would be â€œinappropriate and untenableâ€ for him to share a platform with Blair at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit. This was related to Blairâ€™s decision to join the United States in its invasion of Iraq in 2003, according to News24.
Blair has since expressed reservation at Tutuâ€™s decision.
â€œObviously, Tony Blair is sorry that the archbishop has decided to pull out now from an event that has been fixed for months and where he and the archbishop were never actually sharing a platform,â€ Blairâ€™s office said in a statement, quoted by the South African media.
Blair arrives in Malawi for a two-day official visit.
â€œI can confirm that the former British prime minister Tony Blair will visit Malawi from Thursday, [30th August]. I do not have details further than thatâ€, Â said Lewis Kulisewa, head of political and public affairs at the British High Commission in Lilongwe. State House has also confirmed Blairâ€˜s visit to Malawi.
â€œHe is indeed coming to Malawi. Blair runs a foundation called the Africa Governance Initiative which wants to work with the Malawi Government. It is expected that during the visit the foundation will discuss with the Malawi Government areas of possible cooperationâ€, said presidential press secretary Steven Nhlane
Blair will tomorrow participate in an investor forum in Blantyre coordinated by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, according to Nhlane and organisers.
Said Chancellor Kaferapanjira, chief executive officer of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI): â€œOur involvement in his visit is the organising of 50 business people to be addressed by the former British premier and providing the venue for the forum. But I think it is possible that he will share some secrets on how Malawi can get out of its current economic situation.â€