Malawian President Joyce Banda unexpectedly cancelled her trip to Zambia last evening, where she was invited by President Michael Sata to be guest of honour during the country’s 48th independence celebrations.
Mrs Banda, who had confirmed her attendance as late as Tuesday and sent her minister of foreign affairs as advance party, was expected to arrive in Zambia for a three-day State visit on 23rd October, 2012.
But one of Africa’s onlt two leaders did not show up at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, where both Zambian government officials and Malawian Foreign Affairs Minister Mganda Chiume with High Commissioner to Zambia David Bandawe waited in vain.
No reason was given for her absence but NyasaTimes reports that the Malawian leader instead will head home straight from Dubai where she attended the World Energy Forum.
Presidential Press Secretary Steve Nhlane confirmed to Nyasa Times that President Banda is not going to Zambia.
“She had a critical emerging meeting this morning in Dubai and that meant she could not make it for the Zambia for tomorrow’s celebrations,” said Nhlane on Tuesday.
He said the Malawian leader “sent her apology to Zambian President Michael Sata.”
Instead, President Banda will be represented at the Zambia Independence celebrations by Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ephraim Mganda Chiume.
Malawian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mganda Chiume had confirmed President Banda’s visit when he arrived in an advance party on Monday at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.
Joyce Banda would have been the only president apart from Robert Mugabe to visit Sata from the time Sata became president.