MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s former president Bakili Muluzi on Friday managed to broker peace between President Bingu wa Mutharika and Zambian president Michael Sata.
The rift between the two came after the Mutharika administration deported Sata in 2007 when he came to Malawi, while serving as leader of opposition, to visit Muluzi.
When Sata became president of Zambia in September this year, he rebuffed MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s overtures to make peace, demanding to know why he was deported in the first place. He turned down an invitation to attend the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Heads of State and Government Summit held in MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s capital, Lilongwe, in October, sending his deputy, Guy Scott, instead.
Muluzi took the initiative to bridge the rift between the two presidents of neighbouring countries while on a two-day visit to Zambia.
Speaking in a telephone interview from Lusaka on Friday, Muluzi, who sounded happy, said he convinced Sata to make peace with Mutharika for the sake of the people of the two countries who have enjoyed a cordial relationship and good neighbourliness for a long time.
Said Muluzi: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I pleaded with Sata to forgive because I told him that it was the people of Malawi suffering. Sata said Ã¢â‚¬Ëœyou have been my long-time friend and since you have raised this issue, I consider it closed. Let us forget the past and look forward to the future.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢
Muluzi said Sata is now ready and willing to attend any function in Malawi.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sata has agreed to forgive and has asked me to convey the message to Mutharika. I will be asking for an audience with the President [to perform that duty]. It will be up to him to grant me the audience,Ã¢â‚¬Â Muluzi said, adding that Sata himself broke the news at a press conference following their meeting.
Muluzi, who was earlier in the year appointed Goodwill AmbassadorÃ‚Â and Messenger of Prosperity, Justice, Democracy, and Human Rights and Respect of Rule of Law in Africa by Africa Heritage Society, said he is ready to be used by Mutharika as an envoy.
He said when he was president, he brokered peace in countries such as DRC, Sudan, Angola and Burundi.
Minister of Information and Civic Education, Patricia Kaliati, could not be reached immediately for comment.