Opposition, CSOs irked with govt’s delay to table Tenants Labour Bill

Opposition parties and civil societies in the country have expressed concern over government’s delay in tabling the Tenants Labour Bill which, they argue, once enacted will protect the rights and interests of tenants.

Chakhwantha:  There has been a lot of marathons and manoeuvres

Chakhwantha: Tenants should be protected

Regina Dickson Totawum Vice President speaking to members of the press advocating for tenancy labour bill to end exploitation

Regina Dickson Totawum Vice President speaking to members of the press advocating for tenancy labour bill to end exploitation

The Malawi Congress Party (MCP), the People’s Party (PP) and both local and international organizations took turns in separate interviews with Nyasa Times describing the present status of tenants in the country as awful.

Malawi, which survives on an agro-based economy, depends on tobacco as its main foreign exchange earner.

Thousands of tenants working on various tobacco estates across the country especially in Kasungu, Rumphi and Mzimba have repeatedly raised their voices over substandard perks and living conditions.

MCP parliamentary legal affairs committee chairperson Lewis Chakhwantha, also a lawyer by profession, said it was disheartening that government seemed to be very unconcerned about the bill.

According to Chakhwantha, there has been no interest on part of government as regards the bill despite heavy stimuli from various stakeholders.

“Tenants are not protected,” he said. “They are always even on the losing end because they don’t something on paper with which they can take their bosses to task. As MCP we are ready to pass the bill because it will become an integral aspect of most of the people we represent.”

Baxter Msadabwe, 31, of Mpini Estate in Mchinji told a team of journalists visiting the area recently that life is hell living like a tobacco tenant.

“I have been here for three years now but I can’t say my life has changed for any better,” he said. “Our bosses deduct hefty amounts before we’re paid.”

Msadabwe further said there is no contract signed between them and the estate owners when they commence work, saying the situation makes it problematic for them to take their bosses to task.

“Sometimes they [estate owners] give us the sales sheets at the eleventh hour deliberately so that we have no time to calculate what we are supposed to get. And since there are no laws, we have no say.”

PP’s spokesperson Ken Msonda said as a party they were in support of anything that will benefit Malawians.

“The Bill is crucial in changing the lives of tobacco tenants,” said Msonda. “We fervently join all others that are calling for its tabling to parliament.”

Other organizations that are concerned include International Labour Organization (ILO), Centre for Social Concern (CFSC), Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) and Tobacco Tenants and Allied Workers Union (TOTAWUM).

TOTAWUM vice president Regina Redson confirmed that the union has been pushing government to pass the Tenants Bill to no avail.

“Some of our arguments have always been that, for instance, there will be a significant drop in cases of child labour and general exploitation since the proposed Bill rules out all acts of exploitation,” said Redson.

Malawi laws demand that a tenant should be given basic necessities of life such as food  and accommodation but it lacks in-depth and enforcement outline.

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9 thoughts on “Opposition, CSOs irked with govt’s delay to table Tenants Labour Bill”

  1. Inu mumadziwa kuti u tenant ndi ukapolo? So you are encouraging this? Msiiiiiii. Think twice. Panyapako iwe olemba izi.

  2. Mmmm! Chiri chonse bill. Kodi aMalawi mwadziwa liti za mabill. Mukungowapatsa ma Mp zinthu za ziii kuti azingodya ma allowance zithu za zii mmalo moti azikhala mmakwao. We are too much exetieted. I think umbuli watikulira. Osakamba za nyanja yathu bwanji? KODI ZILI PATI ZA NYANJA? A Malawi mukuthamanga. A Tanzania akungokuyang’ananitu. Zitsiru a Malawi. Shatapu!!

  3. Achimidzimidzi says:

    Where is this bill and in whose office? Hey! What’s the procedure, some take ten years to be tabled while others take less than a year.

    Who determines what to be tabled. Is it the speakers office or OPC? What factors do they consider. Why can you not debate these bills according dates of submission.

    Inu ma MP musamatiyensa mphavu ngati Pitala. Kumbwambwana bwanji?

  4. MABELU says:

    NGAKHALENSO MMANYUMBA A MABWANAMO WANTHU WOGWIRA NTCHITO AMANGONYOZEKA NGATI AKHAIDI A KU MAULA BOLANIKONI

    POFUNIKA KUKAMBILANANSO ZIMENEZO

  5. Mphadwe says:

    Koma guys Alfred Chauwa ndi deal I like his style of writing and in depth on issues of national importance.

    Kodi ameneyi ndingakumane naye bwanji.

    Amene muli ndi nambala ya reporter ameneyi chonde ndigaileni amalongosola bwino nkhani.

  6. Mvalamimba says:

    It is good that the executive arm of government that is dragging feet to bring the bill for enactment is composed us southerners whose brothers and sisters make up almost 70% of tobacco tenants. We are generally heartless and cruel by nature. To justify this fact answer these questions: If you go back to history on SLAVERY : Where did the Slave barons come from? Who were these: Mulozi in KA, Jumbe in KK and Makanjira in MHC? You can see that there is Slavery in our blood. May be I should fault our religions or that we are business minded and that to us money first.
    Where are the Albinos being hunted and butchered most?
    Where were women killed for their breasts, teeth and other organs?
    Who was Kawisa of Chilobwe blood sucking saga?
    Where did he come from?
    And lately who was Nachipanti of Ndilande? If you answer these questions rightly then you will know why the Tenant bill is failing to see its way to parliament . I do feel bad to be from South whenever I ponder on these questions. Lets begin to love one another. Take the bill to parliament this next seating. Please.

  7. Hot Iron says:

    The problem with Government in Malawi is lack of vision. We let political differences get into the path of governance and development too much. That is why we see no progress and only qualify for the ‘global poorest country’ slot. Each party voted into Government comes up with its ‘political’ priorities and they go on their business disregarding what was started before them, even though the issue may be of more benefit to Malawians and the government in particular. PP can be a good example here and they never had time to table this beneficial bill. The National Disaster Risk Management Policy, I am informed, will be launched in a few days time, but has been hanging since the last DPP government was in place. Government please!

  8. POOR AND POVERTY MAKES ALL THIS, THUS WHY WELL TO DO PEOPLE DO NOT EVEN BOTHER TO THINK OF THE WORKERS, FORGETTING THAT WITHOUT THEM, THEY CAN NOT GAIN OR BENEFIT.

  9. chemphopha says:

    I thot therez always private members bill, why can’t the opposition move the motion if the govt. is delaying? Always waiting for the Govt. will not yield anything.
    The opposition are shedding crocodile tears coz if they were serious they would have moved the motion like they did with MSB sale.

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