By 2pm yesterday, the visiting presidents from the 16-member Southern African Development Community (Sadc) had left for their respective countries after successfully attending the 41st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.
First to leave the country “prematurely” were Madagascar president Andry Nirina Rajoelina who left at 19:00 on Tuesday before South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa left Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) an hour later at 20:00.
The two missed the Sadc state banquet which was hosted by their Malawi counterpart Lazarus Chakwera at Kamuzu Palace on Tuesday night.
Yesterday was also one of the busiest and unusual days for the air traffic control team at KIA as private jets, chartered planes and military planes lined up awaiting instructions to take off.
Zimbabwe President Emerson Mnangagwa was first to exit KIA at mid-day, followed by Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi, who left around past 12pm. Namibia Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi also left after 12pm.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who made her maiden attendance in her capacity as the first citizen of Tanzania, left the country at around 2pm.
The leaders were sent off at the airport from Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) by various Cabinet ministers, in a similar fashion when they were also welcomed by the same Cabinet Ministers during their arrival.
However, according to the departure programme, Lesotho Deputy Prime Minister is expected to leave the country this evening at 20:10 while Prime Minister for Eswatini Cleopas Dlamini is scheduled to leave Malawi on August 21 2021.