Europeans and Asians settled in Malawi in the 1800’s and today we live amongst their descendants who speak Chichewa and English as fluently as their native tongues. These minority groups are proud to call Malawi home and have no ties to other countries, yet they are being still made to feel like foreigners.
It is in these instances where we must stand up in support for their rights as Malawians.
For the last decade there has been complaints regarding the way in which the Department of Immigration have been targeting and harassing Malawians within these minority groups. Most recently our investigations into the matter have unearthed a letter written to the Director General of Immigration which has been CC’d to the President, Vice President, Minister of Homeland Security, Minister of Justice and the Minister of Civic Education and National Unity.
See letter below.
The issues faced by minorities in this letter extends also to people living in the country on legitimate work, business or permanent resident permits who, from our research, are facing the same hostile environment. The same goes for some large companies in the country who have experienced disruptions at their work places, which raises an important question – in a globalized world, are we scaring our investors away?
The current affairs team spoke to Mr. Abdullah Hanif regarding these issues and he voiced the following concerns, “the ethnocentrist narrative against minorities is further exacerbated by the media; when a businessman who is a minority is guilty of something the media will feel the need to mention his race in the article and thereby smear the entire group which is made up of thousands of legitimate people. If the media had to mention the tribe of a person each time there was a crime it would be unacceptable. So why the double standard? What is the media trying to perpetuate by dehumanizing “other people?”
It is important for all Malawians, regardless of colour, class or creed to play their part in speaking up against inequality and discrimination to protect our democracy, appreciate our similarities and celebrate our differences. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
What leaves to be seen now is how the Director General of Immigration can address these legitimate concerns and help to foster a culture of openness and diversity.