Malawi Government Lifts Travel Ban on New Zambian President

Posted September 29th, 2011 at 7:01 am (UTC-5)
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Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika says his government will allow the newly-elected president of neighboring Zambia to enter the country, four years after he was mysteriously deported.

Mr. Mutharika's government said Thursday that President Michael Sata, who was elected to the Zambian presidency last week, has been “cleared of the prohibited immigrant status” since he is now a head of state.

In 2007, Malawi authorities arrested Mr. Sata while he was on a private trip in the commercial capital of Blantyre. Authorities then drove him several hundred miles to the Zambian border before dropping him off and imposing the entry ban.

Malawi authorities have never stated publicly why Mr. Sata was deported. Mr. Mutharika's statement on Thursday said the deportation was due to “certain circumstances.”

Mr. Sata has sued Malawi's government over the matter, but but the case is still in court.

Relations between Malawi and Zambia have been historically warm since their independence from Britain in the 1960s.