A Malawian Becomes First African Mayor in The United Kingdom
Malawian Suleman Khonat has made history in the United Kingdom by becoming the first African to be mayor in that country.
61-year-old Khonat was born in Mangochi district and lived in Mponela in Dowa and Nkhoma in Lilongwe, before relocating to the United Kingdom in 1976, following the death of his father.
According to an online publication Leyman, Khonat was elected as deputy mayor on Friday by Darwen Borough Council, and will in May next year take up full mayorship of the city.
He says he has a soft spot for his home country and wants to contribute to its development.
While saying this is a welcome development, social commentator Victor Chipofya wonders what influence Khonat has as mayor, but advised that he can be useful by assisting vulnerable Malawian residents in the UK.
“First of all, it depends on what kind of assistance he is talking about, and what kind of influence he has on the United Kingdom’s foreign policy because countries like the UK do not just say we will establish bilateral relations with Malawi because of an individual that holds a position,” Chipofya said.
He adds, “I would advise however that he should assess the plight of Malawians living there through the Malawian embassy, and make sure that they have a better life.”
Suleman Khonat is also in the executive of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents in the UK, and a local Magistrate sitting in Lancashire Courts since 2001.