President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi has sparked outrage in his country after he travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) to attend a virtual conference.
President Chakwera has come under criticism in his country for flying to London for The Global Education Summit that is being held on virtual platforms.
The president justified flying to the UK, arguing that the internet in his country was unreliable.
Malawi’s presidential spokesperson told the press that:
“Even though the said summit is virtual, but the president needs to be in UK physically as you know internet connection in Malawi is not reliable.”
The Malawian President is also being criticized for travelling to the United Kingdom with a 10 member entourage which included his wife, First Lady Monica Chakwera; daughter Violet Lillie and the President’s son-in-law Sean Kampondeni, who is the State House director of communications.
The president has been criticised for taking his family along, particularly Violet; who was recently appointed as a diplomat to Brussels in Belgium.
The president argued that he needed his daughter there because she would provide physical and emotional support during the trip as his wife, the First Lady was reportedly not feeling well.
A source who spoke to the Nyasa Times said,
“The president’s eldest daughter, Violet has been included on the list of a 10 member delegation to the UK presumably taking up a place meant for Foreign Affairs Minister.
“What she is going to do there, only her and her father know. It is really sad that instead of taking on the trip people who could make use of the summit and do government business, the president is taking his daughter.”
Meanwhile, Malawian Foreign Affairs Minister Eisenhower Mkaka defended the move saying,
“This is an education summit being co-hosted by the British Prime Minister and Kenyan President. Different heads of government and state will attend this meeting.
“They have limited the entourage to 10. Malawi is already benefiting from this Global Education Initiative. The policies to be made there will directly impact Malawi. It is imperative that the president attend this.”
Chakwera is also receiving fierce criticism over his decision to appoint his daughter Violet, an outbound air tickets sales agent as a diplomat to serve at Malawi’s embassy in Brussels as Third Secretary.
He is facing accusations of hypocrisy and nepotism. During his campaign, he lambasted former President Peter Arthur Mutharika for nepotism and promised to do things differently.
Critics are going wild on Twitter, using the president’s own speeches to condemn him for his nepotism.
A key Malawian social media influencer, Onjezani Kenani, who was also a fierce critic of the former regime, pointed out
“The last time I checked, Peter Mutharika never appointed any son or daughter of his to any taxpayer-funded position.”
The Malawian Presidency has defended the president’s appointments, saying everyone who has been given a job was considered for positions based on their qualifications.