Malawi’s ambassador designate to Zimbabwe is a man who described President Robert Mugabe as an idiot and a horrible man in 2006 while he was an asylum seeker in Germany.
According to reports from Lilongwe, President Peter Mutharika has appointed Thoko Banda as the country’s new Ambassador to Harare.
Banda is the son of veteran Malawi politician Aleke Banda.
In 2006, Thoko described Mugabe – the man he will present his credentials to – as an “idiot” in an interview with a Germany publication The Foreigner (Full interview available here).
He was explaining how he fell out with the administrations of Bakili Muluzi and the late Bingu wa Mutharika, developments that forced him to flee into exile.
Banda said Muluzi and Mutharika had been fighters for democracy before turning into oppressors once they made it into government.
Western countries did not respond with sanctions because both Muluzi and Mutharika were, unlike Mugabe, smart enough not to know they “had to be nice to foreigners”.
Said the career diplomat: “You won’t hear about it in the West.
“You will hear about Zimbabwe, because Zimbabwe has an idiot. I am sorry, I know you are recording, but they have an idiot for president.
“This guy Robert Mugabe; I hope that he lives a very long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man.
“The only difference between Mugabe and some of the other leaders is that Mugabe hurts not only his own people but also foreigners. That is why they hate him so much in the West.
“Leaders like mine, they are cleverer. And I know how it works. They know, as long they are nice to foreigners they can stay.”
Analysts in Malawi said although he made the comments back in 2006, Banda’s unguarded utterances could undermine his working relationship with the Zimbabwean government.
Reports also claimed that Harare had received his appointment with reservations.