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EU envoy ‘recalled’

Head of the European Union (EU) mission in Malawi, Sandra Paesen, has reportedly been recalled to the organisation’s head office in Brussells, Belgium, barely a year after assuming her post.

The government and diplomatic officials declined to give details on the reasons for her recall, let alone who would replace her.

Minister of Information and the government’s spokesperson, Mark Botomani, yesterday said he did not get official communication on the matter.

“From what I have seen on the social media, she has been recalled by her own office in Brussels but I have not received any official communication on the matter. I cannot speculate the reasons why she might be recalled,” Botomani said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francis Kasaila, yesterday declined to comment on the matter.

“Check with the Ambassador herself,” he said.

Spokesperson of the ministry, Rejoice Shumba, said her office had not received communication on the matter.

“Our office only oversees the relationship between Malawi and other countries, including the embassies, so we may not comment on employment issues. The best to comment will be the EU office,” she said.

Reports indicate that Paesen has been given seven days to leave the country and head to the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

The development comes barely a month after Paesen took part in the demonstrations denouncing alleged rape and other forms of sexual harassment by some police officers on women in Msundwe, M’bwatalika and Mpingu in Lilongwe.

In September this year, Paesen also called for dialogue to resolve the current political impasse Malawi is experiencing.

The local press quoted Paesen as having on October 10 2019 tweeted when an angry mob in Msundwe killed a police mobile service officer, Usumani Imedi, who alongside his counterparts, tried to stop people from blocking a road.

The mob blocked the road so that some people should not attend a political rally which Peter Mutharika was addressing in another area in Lilongwe.

“I’m asking all Malawians today: did Police Superintendent Imedi deserve to be killed by stoning?

“As the Ambassador of the European Union in Malawi, I say no to violence from police to citizens, from citizens to police. I say no to violence1,” she said in the tweet, signed @ EUinMalawi.

EU press office kept referring the matter to one another.

Paesen presented her letters of credence to President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace in October 2018.

She was appointed Head of the EU Delegation from Uganda where she served as the Head of the Political, Press and Information Section.

Article 19 of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations says that “if the post of head of the mission is vacant, or if the head of the mission is unable to perform his functions a chargé d’affaires ad interim shall act provisionally as head of the mission.”

Article 9 of the same convention reads: “The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision, notify the sending State that the head of the mission or any member of the diplomatic staff of the mission is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable. In any such case, the sending State shall, as appropriate, either recall the person concerned or terminate his functions with the mission.”

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