The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has said long processes, and not a lack of funds, have delayed deployment of newly appointed high commissioners and ambassadors.
The ministry’s spokesperson Quent Kalichero was responding to questions on why diplomats who President Peter Mutharika appointed over three months ago are yet to take up their positions.
On the other hand, diplomats who have been recalled are also yet to return home.
Kalichero said the appointees have not left for their respective destinations, but dismissed the suggestion that it was due to lack of funds in the wake of donor aid suspension.
“It takes a long process for one to go to the embassy. After the appointment, he or she has to go for PAC [Public Appointments Committee of Parliament] interviews then accreditation by the host nation follows. This [accreditation] is a critical one because it can take months,” she said.
Another issue, according to Kalichero, relates to preparing the diplomat who is already at the mission to return as no two people can be at the same place at the same time.
Kalichero also dismissed suggestions that the designate diplomats might be receiving salaries as they wait to be deployed, saying they only do so after reporting for duties at their respective missions.
In August this year, Mutharika appointed five diplomats—Hetherwick Ntaba (to United Kingdom, but has since withdrawn), Thoko Banda (Belgium then later Zimbabwe, but he declined the latter appointment), Brian Bowler (United Nations), Margaret Roka Mauwa (South Africa, but her candidature was later withdrawn), Frazer Nihorya (consul general in Johannesburg, South Africa) and Charles Namondwe (China).
In October, the President appointed more people to the diplomatic missions. These were Voice Mhone (Germany), Yunus Mussa (Egypt), Ted Kalebe (Belgium and the European Union), Necton Mhura (United States of America) and Frank Viyazi (Mozambique).
Others were Edward Sawerengera (Brazil), Chimango Chirwa (Ethiopia and the African Union) and Chrissie Kaponda (South Africa).
Among those appointed, PAC rejected Mhone and Mussa.