Africa & World

VIDEO: Malawi’s President defends flying to UK for virtual conference

Believe it or not, Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera says he travelled for the virtual conference because of the country’s slow internet.

You can’t make this stuff up: Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has somehow managed to justify travelling to Britain to attend a conference, despite it being held virtually.

Chakwera jetted into London with a ten-strong entourage to take part in the conference. His reasoning behind it? He says Malawi’s slow internet connection makes it impossible to work from home. He arrived with a delegation that included his wife, daughter and son-in-law for the two-day global education conference that got underway on Wednesday, 28 July 2021.

In an interview on BBC’s current affairs programme HARDTalk, Lazarus Chakwera defends bringing his family along on the trip, while leaving important government staff, including his foreign affairs minister.

“I brought Malawians that are doing something, along with me on this trip and they are just as valuable,” he said.

Short clips of the awkward interview have been doing the rounds on social media.

Chakwera claims his family members also serve specific functions, which is why they are on the trip – but did not elaborate on what those “functions” are in the interview. However, according to Malawi News, Chakwera said that he needed his daughter there for physical and emotional support during the trip as the First Lady was reportedly not feeling well.

When his spokesperson spoke to a local publication, they said he had initially wanted to bring at least 60 people.

“Even though the summit is virtual, the president needs to be in UK physically as you know internet connection in Malawi is not reliable,” the spokesman is quoted is having said.

The 66-year-old took over office in 2020, claiming victory over the incumbent, Peter Mutharika. He isn’t the only leader who travelled for the conference as Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari was also in attendance.

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