Visiting United Kingdom (UK) Minister for Africa Vicky Ford says she is impressed with President Lazarus Chakwera’s stand on the Russia-Ukraine war which threatens global peace.
The minister said this after her audience with Chakwera on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe as part of her tour aimed at cementing the bilateral relationship between the UK and Malawi.
In an interview after meeting the President in-camera, Ford said she was impressed with Chakwera’s position on “the terrible situation in Ukraine”, adding Malawi has a role to play in preaching peace as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
She said: “Really, he has been so strong in saying it is wrong to breach international law. It is wrong for a big country to go and invade their neighbours and then cause this terrible tragedy affecting women and children.
“We spoke about the precedent this is creating in the world if it is allowed to continue if big countries, in his words, bully their neighbours and the consequences of that will be felt across the world. We really had a long discussion about that.”
Though distant from Ukraine, the UK envoy said Chakwera was emphatic on the need for countries to uphold international law and avoid invading their neighbours.
Ford said their discussion also extended to issues affecting southern Africa, especially insurgencies in Mozambique.
She said every country has to play their role to safeguard peace across the world and that is the view they both agreed on.
The UK minister also indicated that one of the issues they discussed was the need to support Malawi with investment opportunities so as to facilitate job creation, saying as a minister responsible for Africa, part of her tour is to find a way of encouraging more British investors to come to Malawi.
On the anti-corruption drive, she said it is pleasing to note that Chakwera is personally passionate to fight corruption.
Ford added: “We also had a lengthy discussion about corruption. It’s incredibly important that the President has taken a very strong stance on anti-corruption. I am strongly supportive of the President’s stand on this. I would like to see the whole government coming behind him.”
Besides meeting Chakwera, according to the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in Malawi, Ford will also meet key government and business stakeholders to showcase the two countries’ mutual collaboration on shared priorities such as health, education, the fight against corruption and how to support building back better for communities most impacted by the global pandemic.
Ford first met Chakwera in Glasgow, Scotland during CoP26, but this is her first visit to Malawi since her appointment in September 2021 as Minister for Africa.
While in Malawi, Ford will visit UKAid-supported projects which support women and girls’ access to health services, education and private sector development.
According to the FCDO in Malawi, Ford was appointed Minister for Africa in September 2021 and became the Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean in December 2021.
Previously, she was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education from February 2020 to September 2021. Ford was first elected as Conservative MP for Chelmsford in the UK in 2017.