[QODLink]
Africa

Malawi livid over Zuma comments

Diplomatic row brews after South African president's comments mock Malawi's infrastructure and development.

Last Modified: 24 Oct 2013 12:45
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
President Jacob Zuma's comments on Malawi have drawn outrage and ridicule on the continent [Reuters]

Malawi has summoned a South African envoy over President Jacob Zuma's disparaging remarks about the country.

Ntombile Mabude, the South African High Commissioner to Malawi, was asked to explain a statement Zuma made last Monday that was widely understood as suggesting that Malawi was backward, when discussing South Africa's road infrastructure.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Quent Kalichero told the AFP news agency on Wednesday that Mabude was "summoned to discuss the issue".

The envoy held a meeting with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, George Mkondiwa, in the capital Lilongwe.

We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It's not some national road in Malawi

President Jacob Zuma

Kalichero declined to provide details of the meeting.

Zuma sparked controversy when he tried to convinced motorists to accept the country's plan to toll highways around Johannesburg.

He said "we are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It's not some national road in Malawi."

On Tuesday, Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj defended the statement, saying it was reported out of context.

He said Zuma was trying to justify the sophisticated road system in the country's economic hub.

But according to Africa Check, a non-profit organisation monitoring the accuracy of public figures across the African continent, "Zuma’s remarks were not ‘taken out of context’ or distorted and that he did indeed make remarks about ‘Africans generally’, and Malawi in particular, that were intended to disparage.”

Zuma's comments drew outrage across South Africa, with social media platforms buzzing with ridicule and condemnation for the president's remarks.

But others say that Zuma's sentiment is precisely what South Africans feel about its neighbours. 

“Zuma is merely airing an often shy and hidden reality of the perceptions and arrogance that many South Africans share,” Ebrahim Fakir, a political analyst, told South Africa's Daily Maverick.

320

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.