…Cabinet minister fingered in escape
…Presidential flight was delayed
A diplomatic row threatens over the flight of self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri from South Africa where he was answering charges over fraud.
On Saturday morning, Bushiri announced on his Facebook page that he had left South Africa over security concerns. He indicated that he is now in Malawi with his family.
Currently, details are sketchy of his escape from the rainbow nation where there are frequent cases of Malawians entering and leaving the country through unchartered territories. However, the coincidence of Bushiri leaving South Africa the same time as Malawi President who was in the country for a two-day official visit has not passed unannounced.
When did Bushiri leave South Africa?
There are two versions of Bushiri leaving South Africa. The first version, which places the Presidential visit on the centre, is that Bushiri left the country either on Friday or early Saturday morning. This story is based on Bushiri’s announcement that he is in Malawi which was only made on Saturday.
Another version, however, is that Bushiri left South Africa on Wednesday and kept his whereabouts a secret until Saturday. Rumours about this version have still fingered a government Minister as being at the centre of the plot alleging that he met with Bushiri on Tuesday before the fugitive eventually jumped bail the next day.
However information that we have as Malawi24 indicates that as of Friday Bushiri had planned an interface with the media in South Africa. This could be that he was still in South Africa on Friday and only skipped borders through a plane which was chartered. The other possibility could be that the presser was a smokescreen as it eventually failed.
Media reports indicated that President Chakwera, in a meeting with traditional leaders from the Northern region where Bushiri comes from promised them that he would find out the issues that were surrounding Bushiri. This was after he was asked a question by one of the leaders if government could intervene on the situation of Bushiri.
Chakwera at that meeting registered that as the matters were in court, there was little that he could do but would find out from authorities in South Africa on the issue.
On Thursday, November 12, Chakwera flew into South Africa. Ahead of him, dignitaries including the Minister of foreign affairs Eisenhower Mkaka, had already gone into South Africa.
At the meeting of the Malawian and South African President, it is not known if the issue of Bushiri was tabled. At a joint presser, they both pointed to other bilateral issues including the employment conditions of Malawians in South Africa.
Chakwera was supposed to return to Malawi on Friday afternoon. His flight was however delayed in what state house claimed were issues with his delegation that he wanted to have cleared and return with all including the advance team.
His flight arrived at around 1 am on Saturday.
Malawi and South Africa have maintained cordial relationship which has seen the two countries enjoying extradition conditions. The most recent was the case of murderer Misozi Chanthunya who was extradited from South Africa where he had been hiding. Both governments are yet to comment on the issue.