British high commissioner ordered out of Malawi
Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, the British high commissioner to Malawi, could be expelled for criticizing Malawi President, the Telegraph reported.
Cochrane-Dyet is alleged to have referred to President Bingu Wa Mutharika as autocratic", "combative" and "intolerant of criticism".
reported that he was given 72 hours to leave the country after a private diplomatic cable sent to his superiors was leaked.
After the cable was leaked, the extracts were published in a Malawi newspaper over the weekend and on Monday, the high commissioner is alleged to have been given 72 hours to leave the country.
Cochrane-Dyet is alleged to have reported in a cable that Malawi, which receives 40 percent of its annual budget in aid form, was becoming increasingly repressive.
Malawi has at least 12 million people and at least three-quarter of these live on less than $1 a day.
So serious are the allegations that the country’s foreign office was considering declaring Cochrane-Dyet "persona non grata".
Sir Geoffrey Adams, acting permanent under secretary, told Malawi's charge d'affaires in London that such action would affect the full range of issues in the bilateral relationships between the two countries.
According to the Guardian
, Malawi’s foreign office in fact summoned Cochrane-Dyet and ordered him to leave the country this week.
In a leaked cable to the foreign secretary William Hague, Cochrane-Dyet said: “The governance situation continues to deteriorate in terms of media freedom, freedom of speech and minority rights".
, quoting the Nation Newspaper, reported that rights activists had reported a campaign of intimidation through anonymous phone calls.
Britain, which is the country’s main donor last year, reduced aid by £3 million last after the Malawi government purchased a plane worth £8 million.
Bingu, however, defended the purchase saying it was cheaper than hiring a jet every time he travelled.
Cochrane-Dyet also warned that the political temperature in Malawi is expected to rise when Wa Mutharika steps down in 2014.