Malawi is yet to decide on its attendance of the AU Summit following Lilongweâ€™s decision not to host the indaba over the possible presence of Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir.
Minister of Information Moses Kunkuyu said this in an interview on Monday in reaction to calls from civil society organisations (CSOs) that Malawi should not entirely boycott the summit, now moved to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, after giving up on hosting the meeting due to al-Bashirâ€™s issues with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“A decision on whether we will attend or not will be made very soon,” said Kunkuyu, who is also official government spokesperson.
He said since the decision to cancel the hosting of the summit was made by the whole Cabinet, there is also need for the same Cabinet to meet again to have a stand on Malawiâ€™s attendance.
Said Kunkuyu: “Since these things happened while the President was away, she has to be thoroughly briefed before any further decision is made. However, as has always been the case with the Presidentâ€™s approach to such issues, a decision will have to be made by the whole Cabinet.â€
Vice-President Khumbo Kachali announced during a news conference on Friday that Malawi will no longer host the summit following insistence of the AU that al-Bashirâ€”wanted by the ICC for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfurâ€”is free to come to Malawi for the summit.
Local CSOs on Monday applauded the Joyce Banda administration for what they called a “bold stand against impunity and standing for the people of Darfur.”
But the CSOs, which were led by the Council for Non-Governmental Organisations in Malawi (Congoma) during a news conference in Lilongwe, asked the President not to boycott the summit following Malawiâ€™s position.
While also applauding other countries such as Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Tanzaniaâ€”which share a similar stand with Malawi, the CSOs called for reforms in the way the AU handles issues of heads of State on the continent.
President Banda told a visiting British Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell recently that Malawi is going to arrest al-Bashir if he dares set his foot on Malawi soil. Mitchell disclosed Bandaâ€™s stand in an exclusive interview.
Earlier, Lilongwe had asked the AU to prevent al-Bashir from attending the summit. He asked Sudan to send a low-key delegation, but Sudan rebutted that Malawi had no right to stop al-Bashir from attending the summit.
Malawi irked the international community last October when the administration of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika rolled a red carpet for al-Bashir despite calls for Malawi to arrest and surrender him to the ICC.