“Do not touch My anointed ones! Do no harm to My prophets!” – Psalm 105:15
I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’ – 1 Samuel 24:10c
Far be it for me to seek a presidential apology from the head of state of another country, however I am here championing a patriotic duty to protest and protect the honor of my own heard of state. At the outset, I declare that Your Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, you owe my President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, an apology for the misguided ill-treatment he received from the South African Police, as he was about to leave South Africa. This was after what appeared to be a hugely successful first two-day official state visit by our new President.
Malawi President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, less than six months in his new role, has rightly as the incoming Chair of the SADC, embarked on a tour of the region. He started with Zambia followed by Zimbabwe, and Tanzania, before venturing into South Africa. While my major worry was that my President was doing way too much travelling during the global COVID-19 pandemic, it hit me like a ton of bricks to read in the social media airwaves that President Chakwera’s plane was failing to leave South Africa, with such words as detained by South African security forces from 3:30 to 10:30, a total of seven hours. As the social media ramblers waxed lyrical about a truckload of allegations, it is reported that one cabinet minister in our president’s entourage was whisked off the plane and measured for heigh verifications.
It has transpired that one of Malawi’s famed citizen (Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife Mary Bushiri), until recently a South Africa resident, had escaped from South Africa as he faced allegations of fraud charges. In their wisdom, the South African security forces believed that the suspects were to be whisked away from the long arm of the South African law by using the Malawi President’s plane. The Bushiri’s were not on the Presidential plane.
President Ramaphosa, you are the leader of a country that is a major player in regional, continental, and global relations, and the acts of your security forces in this matter, were excessive, ill-planned, and frankly a major infringement, breach, violation, contravention, flouting of all diplomatic protocols. This is the reason for the call that Your Excellency must apologize to your fellow head of state Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, without any conditions, without any further delay, and publicly and privately.
A wrong has been committed against my president. It must be underscored that it is the farthest thing on President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s mind, or any members of his entourage, to assist any Malawi citizen that is alleged to be running from any foreign country’s law enforcement. It is deeply troubling that South African police officers would barge onto the plane carrying the Malawi leader and search his plane for alleged fugitives. The theatrics the South African police stage, are the stuff of thriller, spy, or crime mysteries in novels or films.
What is most painful is the disdain and outpouring of malicious insults leveled against Malawi in the South African media that continues to be added to an already regrettable diplomatic atrocity. Sir, no President in the SADC has ever been treated in this manner. No head of state should ever have to suffer with such miserable paltry handling. Upon taking his oath of office, the meek President Chakwera vowed to be Malawi’s Servant Leader, but he is no other country’s servant leader. We take great exception and umbrage that Your Excellency’s security forces can trample upon our Presidency in the fashion it chose as our leader was on South African soil.
While waiting for Your Excellency’s apology to President Chakwera, your esteemed indulgence is sought that your envoys around the world will likewise send apology letters to their fellow envoys representing Malawi. The South African police dishonored our President.
I await Your Excellency’s public and private apology to my President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.
SADC, united we stand, divided we fall!