President Lazarus Chakwera is in Zimbabwe on a two-day State to soon be followed by Tanzania and Mozambique in what State House has described as “solidarity visits”.
The Zimbabwe trip is Chakwera’s second State visit since he assumed office in June this year, the first being a day -long visit to Lusaka, Zambia last week.
Speaking on departure at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe yesterday, the President did not explain the agenda for his trip during which he is expected to hold talks with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose regime has come under international spotlight for human rights abuses.
Two civil society organisations, Youth and Society and Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation- on Tuesday wrote Chakwera, asking him to use his visit to discuss with Mnangagwa on the need for his regime to stop attacking human rights defenders and respect human rights.
Responding to a question on his departure, Chakwera said this is one of the issues that will be discussed with his Zimbabwean counterpart.
He, however, could not divulge more, only adding that Malawi and Zimbabwe have enjoyed long bilateral relations and it is in the same spirit that he is visiting the country.
But in written response, presidential press secretary Brian Banda said the President is also scheduled to travel to two of Malawi’s bordering countries.
He said: “I can confirm that His Excellency the President will have a day-long visit to Mozambique next Tuesday and later Tanzania. These are solidarity visits following his assumption of the leadership of the country.”
Banda did not specify the date on which Chakwera will travel to Tanzania.
Malawi borders Tanzania to the North, Mozambique to the South and East, and Zambia to the West.
Unlike during his arrival from Lusaka when he was welcomed largely by Malawi Congress Party supporters, there was a blend of colours of supporters yesterday notably MCP, UTM Party and People’s Party, demonstrating the working relationship among the Tonse Alliance parties.