Recalled Ambassador to Washington DC in the United States (US) Edward Sawerengera has faulted government for using a single Malawian freight company to ship their personal effects.
In an interview, the envoy said the process of shipping the personal effects has become expensive and tedious because of the single handler.
Sawerengera is leading other diplomats in a case where they have obtained an injunction stopping government from moving them before their personal effects are shipped.
He said the local shipping firm has subcontracted companies in the US which was making the process long.
Sawerengera said if government had allowed the recalled diplomats to get shippers in the US, the process would have been efficient.
He said: “The two US companies have also subcontracted other two companies to do the packing and loading. So far, four companies [have] subcontracted each other the cost of which will be borne by the government.
“This [will] obviously turn out [to be] expensive for government. US shippers can cost far much lower and would efficiently handle the shipments.”
The diplomat said in the past, personal effects for diplomats were being packed into containers in the presence of the recalled diplomats and not put in the warehouses.
“The basis of [the court stay order] against our departure is that the government wants to keep diplomats’ personal effects in warehouses indefinitely, citing unavailability of containers and ships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sawerengera argues that the reason advanced by government is not correct because recalled diplomats have quotations from local US shippers who have assured that containers and ships are available.
But in an earlier interview, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Rejoice Shumba said government has used a local shipping company to ferry personal effects for recalled diplomats due to foreign exchange challenges, Covid-19 restrictions and to promote local firms.
She said the firm was picked through a procurement process and many freight companies were not operating in various countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On August 25 2021, the Public Appointments Committee (PAC) of Parliament approved appointments of 18 heads of mission President Lazarus Chakwera appointed on June 14 2021