…new embassy opening in Israel
…unpaid diplomats take up extra jobs
President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration has silently changed tune over opening of an embassy in the disputed city of Jerusalem and Malawi will now open its office in Tel Aviv, senior government officials have confirmed.
Chakwera announced during his first speech to Parliament in September 2020 that the country will expand its diplomatic presence to Israel, Qatar and Nigeria but courted controversy with the idea of having the Israel mission stationed in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is one of the key disputed land in the long conflict between Israel and Palestinians as both claim the city to be their capital.
Chakwera, now known for making u turns, is thought to have done it to attract the attention of the then USA President Donald Trump who moved the nations embassy to Jerusalem in 2019.
Out of 94 diplomatic missions in Israel only four have their offices on Jerusalem, most of whom followed Trumps announcement.
The four are the USA, Honduras, Guatemala and Kosovo. Most followed the USA.
Other countries toyed with the idea before it was dropped.
Secretary for Foreign Affairs Benard Sande led a three man delegation to Tel Aviv last week to negotiate for the opening of the new mission.
Sande has since returned home, though another team will be dispatched and is expected to stay over three months to open the embassy.
Chakwera who has been making u-turns in domestic policy does not have any foreign policy direction as since ascending to office he has been courting Somaliland and is not clear on Russia.
“One morning he speaks to Ukrainian President he shouts on top of the world. The following day he is smiling over Russian fertiliser and sending Zikhale Ng’oma to subject the nation to ridicule that we will have the first ever US$20 million nuclear power plant,” said a former diplomat.
The Presidents insistence to expand Foreign mission is coming at the time Malawi forex reserves have dried up and diplomats are going months without pay.
Some diplomats have taken up work in their countries to survive as there is no solution in sight.