High Commissioner, Consular General in a brawl

…fight over a photo session with a prospective investor

…drunk session a national shame

Durban, the South African city in the province of KwaZulu Natal, is renowned for beer-loving Zulu people, just like their cousins- the Ngoni’s of Thyolo, Mwanza Ntcheu, Mchinji, Dowa, Ntchisi and Mzimba. But Malawi High Commissioner to South Africa Stellah Hauya Ndau and her Consular General Max Biwi decided to usurp the Zulu’s as they nearly punched each other after lots of free alcohol that loosened their tongues, energy and rivalry.

Malawi High Commissioner to South Africa Stellah Hauya Ndau fought her Consular General Max Biwi

The Investigator Magazine has spoken to verifiable authorities who described the behaviour of Malawi’s top representatives to Pretoria in front of prospective investors as a “peculiar national embarrassment” and was surprised that both the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are trying to bury the matter- as none of the culprits have been asked to submit report nor face disciplinary action.

South Africa’s annual Tourism fair dubbed “Indaba” is a global tourism promotion event and ranks among top travel fairs to be attended alongside the ITB Berlin in Germany and World Travel Market in London.

This year’s event included Malawi Tourism, led by Minister of Tourism Vera Kamtukule and Principal Secretary Chancy Simwaka, who presided over an investor session. The Investigator Magazine will not name the investor who is reportedly not impressed with the pandemonium caused by the country’s top diplomats.

The cause of the bedlam was a photo opportunity with the investors. This happened after the Minister of Tourism had just left the reception.

After an afternoon session, the investors hosted a network reception at the same venue and all the Malawi delegation, including the leader of delegation Simwaka and his team, private sector representatives and a team of investors.

“Either the investors bought too much alcohol, or everyone had a plastic head; within an hour and a half of the reception, it was obvious the whole public service machinery was on cloud nine. Literally, everyone was almost speaking in parables,” explained our key source.

The office tensions at the Malawi Embassy in Pretoria are said to be rooted especially among political appointees who report each other to their different political benefactors. According to diplomatic sources, the tensions have been simmering for a long time and are common in most embassies, including India.

In Durban, the tensions burst into full-scale drama in front of investors after a group photo was called, but every one of the participants- except maybe the most religious seemed to be high.

“During the photo session, the High Commissioner sat down, and the Consular General came to sit close. Allegedly, the Consular General, who was intoxicated, pushed the lady hard from where she was sitting,” explained one of the people at the reception.

The Ambassador is said to have moved quietly and went to sit away to give space to the Consular General. A second photo session was called.

“When the High Commissioner went to join the photo again, the Consular General pushed her again, this time hard. She couldn’t stomach it after the second time. When the photo taking ended, she was screaming and shouting at the Consular General,” explained another participant to the session.

Malawi’s top diplomat allegedly told the amused investors and others that she was a “Ndirande girl” and would burst out this “funny head” as she was tired of being undermined by her junior at every opportunity.

“She jumped on a table screaming and shouting; the Consular General was facing the other way, very drunk, and he didn’t notice that he had stirred the hornet nest behind him. This went bad as the Ambassador picked up a bottle and tried to smash it on her colleague. She was quickly restrained by fellow diplomats and taken to her official car. It was one of the most embarrassing scenes for the nation. Never heard and never seen anywhere,” said our source, a very senior official.

Patrons and Investors quickly dispersed, and the senior officials who were all sozzled up remained at the venue, very few wiser of the embarrassing episode that happened before prospective investors.

The two officials have yet to meet to discuss the matter, and those close to the Consular General claim he did not recall the incident, while the High Commissioner is said to have recalled the incident perfectly. The Ministries have remained quiet, with Tourism denying it ever happened.

The High Commissioner is said to have come from the Peoples Party (PP) before associating with UTM, whilst the Consular General is regarded as a hardcore MCP appointee. According to different schools of thought- depending on which party they align with- the High Commissioner fails to do her duties. In contrast, others accuse the Consular General of failing to manage and monopolise opportunities.

The official version has been to deny that it happened, The Investigator Magazine has credible witnesses, and the venue has footage of the CCTV recording of the episode.

Reports and gossip are rife that the mission in Pretoria and the Consulate is split alongside parties and personalities. All of the officials are due to return to Malawi by the end of this year as their 3-year tour of duty ends.

A senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed that 109 diplomats will be recalled, insisting their “recall funds” were budgeted despite the Ministry failing to settle bills for those recalled in 2021. Most Tonse Alliance partners’ diplomats and officials from Foreign Affairs are on the priority recall list as MCP officials have already shared positions to replace them

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