Malawi said on Friday it will not host the African Union summit in July because the bloc insisted on inviting Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on international war crimes charges.
Edgard Chibaka is the founder and managing editor of the Nyasa Times, an online Malawian newspaper. DW asked him what he made of Malawi's decicion.
Edgard Chibaka: The Joyce Banda government has made a bold decision telling the entire world that it is time now for Africa to stand up and say no to dictators, no to human rights abuses, no to presidents who are actually perpetrating the killing of their own people. The situation with al-Bashir is very sad. The world has been campaigning against his government and his actions for a very long time and there seems to be no solution or no ending to what he is doing.
Don't you think Malawi was forced into this decision by international donors?
In a globalized market place there are forces out there which always come into play when decisions of this nature are taken. What Joyce Banda has done is to look at the interest of Malawi. Why should Malawians be punished by the donors who are saying this man is wanted by the ICC and he has to stand trial? We are subscribers to all of these tenets and they are part and parcel of our own values and democratic processes in Malawi. So if we go ahead and break these tenets that we have signed up to, then we will only become a laughing stock. Why should we append our signatures to the ICC as a member and then do the contrary? We would be promoting these dictators to go ahead and kill their own people. The donors are actually telling African governments it is important that you respect the rule of law. It is a good lesson to every single Africa country, now that Malawi had done it, stood by it. Yes, donors might have had a hand in this, but yes, it is worthwhile for our economy and our country that one man from Sudan shouldn't be at the centre of the suffering of the Malawian people, because we opened our gates, while he doesn't need to be a guest in our country.
How much damage is this going to do the African Union's reputation?
The African Union has got a lot of problems. They need reform and part of the reform is to make sure that we should stop – as Africans – being entertainers of dictators. The African Union is so protective of these dictators, turning themselves into a club of dictators. We cannot have that and we have to make a very clear statement – Africa is on the move to change! The African Union - by supporting al-Bashir to come and forcing the Malawi government to make this decision - they have lost credibility. They will never be respected unless they start implementing meaningful reforms towards the democratization of the whole continent. We benefit very little from the African Union apart from the different communiqués from Addis Ababa, but they don't bring food on the table for the Malawian people.
Interviewer: Chrispin Mwakideu
Editor: Mark Caldwell