President Peter Mutharika has endorsed and pledged support to the appointment of former president Bakili Muluzi as Special Commonwealth envoy to Swaziland.
Muluzi confirmed his appointment in an interview yesterday, saying he received the letter from Commonwealth secretary general Kamalesh Sharma and that he has already received a pledge of support from Mutharika.
Said Muluzi: “This is a great honour to me personally and to Malawi. You will recall that when I served as Head of State, I undertook peacekeeping missions to a number of countries including DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Sudan and Angola.
“I always believe that for our continent to develop, there should be peace and also ensuring the establishment of democratic institutions. I am also grateful to His Excellency Professor Peter Mutharika who having heard about the appointment, has wished me well and said he will do whatever he can do to support my work.”
In the letter of appointment dated July 10 2014, Sharma says Muluzi is expected to follow up on the recommendations of the Commonwealth Observer Mission (COM) he led during the September 2013 elections.
Reads the letter: “Swaziland is a valued member of the Commonwealth and using our trusted partner status, we have continued to support efforts towards establishing institutions and encouraging processes that are in conformity with the fundamental political values and principles of the Commonwealth.
“It is clear to us that the current situation in that country is a challenging one and that there are important issues to be addressed. Your own role as chair of the COM, your personal knowledge of the historical, political and cultural dynamics of Swaziland, your stature as a senior leader and your personal rapport with stakeholders in the country and the region, make you very well suited to take forward the Commonwealth’s engagement at this juncture.”
Among other issues, Muluzi is expected to discuss with His Majesty King Mswati III and his government officials the need for the kingdom to conduct 2018 elections in a better conformity with Commonwealth and international standards.
One of the issues that has put Swaziland on the spotlight is the conviction of prominent human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko and magazine editor Bheki Makhubu on contempt of court charges which Media Institute of Southern Africa has described as travesty of justice.