UK expels Malawi diplomat in tit-for-tat move

British Foreign Secretary William Hague expelled the acting high commissioner of Malawi on Wednesday in a tit-for-tat move after the “unacceptable” expulsion of Britain’s top envoy in Lilongwe.

“At my direction the Foreign Office has today [Wednesday] told the acting high commissioner of Malawi that she and her dependants must leave the United Kingdom at the earliest opportunity,” Hague said, referring to Flossie Gomile Chidyaonga.

“I have also asked my officials, working closely with their colleagues elsewhere in government, to review rapidly the full range of our wider relationship with Malawi.”

‘Unacceptable and unwarranted’
The move came just hours after Malawi declared Britain’s high commissioner in the Southern African nation, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, persona non grata after his criticism of Malawi’s president was leaked to the press.

Hague said the move was “totally unacceptable and unwarranted”.

“Mr Cochrane-Dyet is an able and effective diplomat who has behaved with integrity throughout his posting to Lilongwe, and who retains the full confidence of the British government,” he said.

“It is a worrying sign that the Malawian government is expending its energies in this way, rather than focussing on the real and substantial challenges facing it, including the need for improved governance.”

The row revolves around a leaked cable published by the weekly Nation earlier this month, in which Cochrane-Dyet said Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika was becoming “ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism.” — AFP

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