Malawi has recalled five more of its diplomatic envoys, including former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s cousin, Charles Namondwe.

Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Patrick Kabambe on Thursday confirmed the development, saying the diplomats have almost finished their tours of duty.

In an interview from Beijing, China, where he is attending the China-Africa Summit, Kabambe said Namondwe, who was Malawi’s Ambassador to China, has been recalled alongside four other top diplomats—Dr. Isaac Lamba (Germany), Professor Richard Phoya (Zimbabwe), Dr. Martin Kansichi (Mozambique) and Jafalie Mussa (Egypt).

Kabambe said most of those recalled were about to complete their contracts; hence, their return home is almost to mark the end of their contracts.

“They are already finishing their tour of duty and it is normal to be recalled after a certain period,” said Kabambe. According to the PS, other low-ranking diplomats have also been recalled.

The recall letters, according to one of the recipients, are dated June 14 2012, but have reached the diplomats this week, giving them three months’ notice.

Namondwe came into the limelight during the funeral service of the late Mutharika when he openly castigated those that allegedly celebrated the death.

With the five back to Capital Hill, this means the number of ambassadors and high commissioners recalled has reached eight since President Joyce Banda took office on April 7 this year.

The first three to be recalled were Brian Bowler (representative at the United Nations), Dr. Chrissie Chawanje-Mughogho (High Commissioner to India) and Agrina Mussa (High Commissioner to South Africa).

There has been widespread criticism over Malawi’s diplomatic service which has mainly been appointed based on political affiliation to parties in government. Many have advocated for career diplomats to represent Malawi if the country is to benefit from its representation abroad through trade, among other things.

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