First Lady Gertrude Mutharika yesterday apologised to the delegation of the visiting United States of America (USA) Second Lady Dr Jill Biden following the blockade of her motorcade by protesting Chancellor College (Chanco) students in Zomba on Monday.
In her remarks after reminding Biden of their first meeting at the White House in 2014, Mutharika briefly referred to the Zomba incident in an apology.
“Let me express our sincere regret over the unfortunate incident yesterday in Zomba,” Mutharika said and Biden nodded in acceptance.
During her meeting with the First Lady at Kamuzu Palace yesterday, Biden did not mention the incident which has attracted debate on the security preparations and intelligence ahead of her trip.
She informed the First Lady of her successful trips to Machinjiri in Blantyre and Msamba Primary School in Zomba.
But her final stop at Mtubwi Primary School in Machinga was cancelled after Chanco students, protesting the increase in university fees, blocked her motorcade at Matawale in the old capital.
The First Lady further invited the US government, through Biden, to continue partnering with Malawi and organisations such as Beauty Malawi Trust, to which she is a patron and founder in advancing women and girls empowerment.
Said Mutharika: “An educated girl or woman will keep the environment safe and clean and prevent diseases from reaching her home. We have learnt that there is a link between healthy living and education. When girls are constantly sick, they will not go to school. There we invite you to partner with us and we welcome the support you give the government in keeping girls in school and empowering women.”
Earlier, Biden said her government appreciates the importance of giving children a good education; hence, their support of school feeding and early grade learning in several primary schools in Malawi.
After arriving in Lilongwe yesterday, Biden visited Chigonthi Farmers Cooperatives which takes part in the Food for Peace Programme where she learnt that in the face of El Nino, farmers harvested 266 metric tonnes (MT), 30MT of which would be sold to World Food Programme through the partnership while the rest would be kept for food and generating income.
Biden, along with Catherine Russell, US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, is on a three-nation nine-day African tour which has taken her to Ethiopia, Malawi and finally Niger.
During their visit, they are engaging government and civil society partners on issues related to economic empowerment and educational opportunity for women and girls