Skip to main content


Volume 543: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2012

President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi died of a cardiac arrest on 5 April. Vice-President Joyce Banda was declared President on 7 April, following due constitutional process. President Banda has declared a period of 30 days of mourning for the late President. In her inauguration speech President Banda emphasised the need to focus immediately on mourning President Mutharika, and for healing and reconciliation and encouraged the people of Malawi to work together to address the many challenges that face the country. The President has continued this theme, and made it clear that her top priorities include getting back on track with the IMF and normalising relations with the UK.

In my statements to the House of 28 April, Official Report, column 13WS and 14 July 2011, Official Report, column 46WS, I set out the Government’s response to the Government of Malawi’s unwarranted decision to expel the British high commissioner. In both of those statements, I told the House that, while the UK would maintain formal diplomatic relations with Malawi, I would not appoint a new high commissioner at that time.

I have now decided that the time is right to appoint a new high commissioner to Malawi. The Prime Minister has written to the President to convey this decision to her and a copy of this letter will be placed in the Library of the House. I will instruct the new high commissioner, once appointed, to monitor developments in Malawi closely.