It has come to my attention, over the past few days that some Malawians living in the state of Texas have expressed their discontent at the processes and appointment of Mr. Jordan Scofield Price as Malawi’s Honorary Consul in the State of Texas; and have alleged that bribery and corruption were central to his appointment. In this regard, my office in Washington DC and some diplomats have received insulting and threatening emails and messages purporting the same. After some reflection, I would like to respond as follows:
The appointment of Honorary Consuls is an international practice that is guided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963. Accordingly, I would urge those concerned and interested to go through the contents of this Convention to understand the duties and roles of an Honorary Consul which are stipulated in its Chapter III and should not be confused with those of a Consul General. As you may know, for example, Malawi has a Consulate General Office which is headed by a Consul General in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Consul General, in this case, is of Malawian descent as per the guidance of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations under Article 22 – even though, the Sending State (Malawi) is at liberty, with the consent of the Receiving State (in this case, South Africa), to appoint a national or permanent resident of the Receiving State.
Honorary Consuls, on the other hand, have limited duties and functions. For instance, they cannot issue visas and process Passports as would the Consulate General’s office in Johannesburg. Additionally, Honorary Consuls are required to be nationals of the Receiving state (in this case, American nationals) and not a national of the Sending State (Malawi), with a good standing in society and having a vested interest in the Sending State. You may want to know that this principle also applies in Malawi where Sending States have designated Malawian Nationals to represent their interests as Honorary Consuls. This is a common practice in international affairs and diplomacy the world over including the USA where nationals of the Receiving State represent the national interests of the respective Sending states as Honorary Consuls.
In addition, the processes of appointing an Honorary Consul are very thorough and involve vetting by both the Sending State (Malawi) and the Receiving State (United States of America). To give you an idea, the appointment processes for Mr. Jordan Price began in 2018 and were only finalized last December, 2019. Mr. Jordan Price, has shown dedication and genuine interest in Malawi and has done a lot of work in Malawi as you will have read from his introductory letter. After this lengthy process, the Embassy sent out an invitation to leaders of the various Associations of Malawians in the Diaspora to witness the Commissioning of Mr. Jordan Price in Washington DC, with a plan to later do the same in Texas this year. We were honoured to have Mr. Felix Lindeire, the President of the Malawi Community in the USA at the said event. I would also like to mention that the position of an Honorary Consul is voluntary, meaning that, Mr. Jordan Price, while working with us to promote Malawi does not receive any penny or salary from the Malawi Government. All the resources and time that he uses to promote Malawi, including stationary and the space for the offices, just to mention a few, are entirely his expense.
I would, therefore, like to assure all Malawians living in the USA, that all due processes involved in the appointments of Honorary Consuls as per international practice were duly followed in the appointment of Mr. Jordan Price. The claims that Mr. Jordan Price holds a Malawian Passport on allegations of bribery and corruption are unfounded. In that connection, I would encourage anyone with credible evidence that would support these claims or allegations, to lodge a complaint with the relevant authorities and institutions.
It is my sincere hope, that moving forward, Malawians of goodwill will continue to support Mr. Jordan Price in promoting Malawi through tourism and trade, among other areas. In future, I would urge everyone to seek information and clarity from the Embassy before rushing to make hasty conclusions that would unnecessarily divide us. The Embassy is open to all of you and I am available to discuss matters of mutual interest for the benefit of Malawi. May we remain united in our pursuit for prosperity for the people and country we love, Malawi.
Edward Yakobe Sawerengera
Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi to the USA
March 5th, 2020