Good riddance to the AU Summit
The story of Malawi and the African Union (AU) Summit reads like fiction. One moment you could almost touch the Summit and the next moment it was gone.
One doesn't really know whether to celebrate or to protest over the decision to take away the Summit from Malawi to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, most probably as a result of the stand-off with the AU on the Al Bashir factor.
First, Malawi tried to diplomatically urge the AU not invite the man wanted by the ICC. But AU godfathers replied that it was not up to Malawi to decide who should attend its summit.
When Malawi stood its ground and declared that it would arrest Al Bashir if he comes, the AU left Malawi with no choice but give up the right to host the Summit.
We say good riddance. Malawi has many problems to deal with and it does not need the distraction of organizing a Summit, let alone dealing with Al Bashir. As it is, that we are no longer holding the summit is a big load off our back.
Of course we have been inconvenienced by this abrupt change of plan. We were in high gear preparing for the Summit and many people made commitments and spent money in readiness for the event. Now that it is not happening will Al Bashir or the AU compensate us?
It is cheap solidarity to stand with everyone including criminals. What our African leaders do not seem to realise is that by handling with kid gloves the Al Bashirs of this world, they all become guilty by association.
Al Bashir is not welcome in Malawi. What has Al Bashir done for us lately anyway? Last time we hosted Al Bashir what do we have to show for it? We just got a bad name and neither Al Bashir nor his principals at the AU stood in our defense. No, we need to send a clear signal that criminals are not welcome to the new Malawi.
One good thing that has come out of it is that as a nation we can be proud of ourselves that we stand for something. As a nation we should not be bullied into dining and wining crooks that have no respect for human rights of their own people.
After all, it is sheer hypocrisy for the AU to claim that it does not recognise the warrant of arrest hanging over Al Bashir's head. If the AU doesn't want foreign interference, why doesn't it discipline its leaders? What does that say about the organization?
Come to think of it, the loss is on the AU and its member countries and not Malawi. How often do you enjoy the hospitality of a lady president on this continent? In case the AU wasn't aware, we changed leaders in Malawi and there is no room in the new Malawi for dictators whether local or imported.
We should be proud as a nation that we did not organize the Summit if it meant endorsing dictatorships. They can have their Summit. They can have their Al Bashir. Let's have our sanity and dignity intact.