Malawi agrees to allow Zambian president to return

AFP , Saturday 15 Oct 2011

Malawi agrees to allow back into the country new Zambian President Michael Sata, who had been deported four years ago while still head of the Zambian opposition

In this Sept. 23, 2011 file photo, Zambia's new President Michael Sata waves at supporters after taking the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, Zambia.(Photo: AP)

The government of the Republic of Malawi hereby revokes, reverses and withdraws any expulsion or deportation order that may have been made or issued in 2007 against or in respect of His Excellency Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, the newly-elected President of the Republic of Zambia," read a statement issued late Friday night.

"Sata is therefore free to visit Malawi any time and all protocols, privileges and immunities befitting heads of state and government shall be accorded to him by the Malawi Government," the statement added.

Sata was deported from the country without explanation after he flew there on personal business and to meet former Malawi president Bakili Muluzi. He sued the government and a high court has yet to deliver a verdict.

Sata this week said he would not attend the 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional summit hosted by Malawi, until he received a formal apology.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide by the International Criminal Court, also attended the summit, which closes Saturday.

Malawi on Friday also agreed to allow back Britain's ambassador, who was expelled in April after criticising President Bingu wa Mutharika, in a move toward normalising relations with the former colonial power.

Britain, its largest donor, suspended budgetary aid, demanding that Malawi address economic management, governance and human rights problems.

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