Malawi’s ministry of foreign affairs has issued a stinging statement criticising South Africa for the way President Lazarus Chakwera and his delegation were when leaving the country on Friday, saying it “breached diplomatic protocols”.
President Chakwera had been delayed for over seven hours at the airport after a two-day visit to South Africa.
In a statement on Twitter, the ministry described the treatment as “improper”.
The statement details extensive checks on the luggage and the president’s plane for “unspecified security reasons”.
The foreign ministry’s comments came on the heels of the escape of well-known Malawian Christian preacher Shepherd Bushier who had skipped bail in South Africa and fled to Malawi.
The South African authorities made it clear that the preacher was not on President Chakwera’s plane. There had been speculations that the nearly seven hour delay which caused the flight to land after midnight in Lilongwe was because Bushiri was suspected to be on board.
Reports also claimed Bushiri met with Malawian foreign minister Eisenhower Mkaka. Mkaka was part of Chakwera’s advance mission, which means he arrived in South Africa earlier than the Malawian president, who arrived on Thursday and disembarked at OR Tambo International Airport.