In this interview, Paida Mpaso finds out from Bureau of African Affairs deputy assistant secretary Reuben Brigety ll what Malawians should expected from the US following the recent regime change
What is your comment on the power transition that recently took place in Malawi?
First of all, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the people of Malawi for the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika. We would further like to congratulate her Excellency the President Joyce Banda for the successful transition of power.
We are very appreciative of this and supportive of the fact that the Constitution was followed and rule of law was respected and that the former Vice-President was dully sworn in as President in accordance with the Constitution. I think it sets the Malawi Government apart as an example for other states in Africa to follow.
One of the issues Malawians are eagerly waiting for is whether the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will now release the much-awaited funds for up scaling the countryâ€™s energy sector?
The vice-president of the MCC will be arriving in Malawi very soon to have further consultations with the members of the government to discuss the way forward for the MCC impact.
The MCC, as you well know, is a different model providing assistance and it operates like a corporation in the sense that the decisions are made by a board which meets four times a year in Washington, of course, chaired by the Secretary of State.
They [MCC] have very high standards with regard to political and economical governance issues before they can disburse the funds.
They need to be sure that the money being disbursed will be put to good use. So, the vice-president will be here to have those consultations. It is our hope that the people of Malawi and the MCC will have very positive consultations.
So, his coming does not necessarily mean that Malawi will get the funds, does it?
No, it does not guarantee that. There are a series of consultations to ensure that governance issues are consistent with MCC requirements.
What are Malawiâ€™s prospects to qualify for the funds before June?
The status will be reviewed in June. I cannot prejudge what the outcome will be, but I am almost certain that no decision will be made prior to June.
In July, Malawi will be hosting the African Union Summit, what are your expectations?
Obviously, this will be a very good moment for Malawi. This particular summit will be a good one because the issue of chairmanship is still an outstanding one.
Just looking at that issue, the meeting will be a good summit. Obviously, it will be an enormous honour and challenge to host the summit, but we are confident that Malawi will be successful.
What would be your reaction if Malawi hosted President Omar-Al- Bashir of Sudan?
Malawi is a sovereign state and has the right as to who to let into their country. We know that there are issues and challenges with regard to state hosting, but we recognise that president Al-Bashir is an indicted war criminal by the International Criminal Court and we are concerned about his presence in any country, particularly in light of the incidents in Sudan and South Sudan.
But obviously, it is up to Malawi to make this decision as to whether or not this person would be welcome in Malawi, for the AU Summit.
But what do you expect on this?
We expect Malawi to make a decision based on its own interests. We have our concerns over hosting president Al-Bashir, but itâ€™s up to Malawi.
But if he came, would this not affect issues such as the MCC funds?
As I said, I am not in a position to know as the MCC board makes its own decisions. There are multiple memberships to the board and how the board reacts to hosting him. But, of course, hosting him is hard to imagine how that can be perceived as a positive development. But this is the decision Malawi and the board have to make.