Racial tensions, linked to the Malawian Asians’ economic dominance, do still exist, but it’s downplayed. However, Karonga central member of parliament Frank Tumpale Mwenifumbo spoke strongly in support of indigenous Malawians and that government should liberate its people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation and economic inequality.
“Over the years, my observation has been that most Malawians, especially, indigenous Malawians, do not participate or it is not even an attempt to absorb them in the procurement process of government services and products,” Mwenifumbo said in parliament in Friday.
He was making his contribution to a Bill of Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets.
Frank-talking Mwenifumbo urged government to economically emancipate its people from living below the poverty line and ensure economic empowerment through participation in government procurements fairly.
He said the government business most of the contractors are of Asian origin.
“I was disappointed at one point when we were talking to officials from Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. I think my colleagues that I sat with in that Committee will agree with me. I did pose a question to the official there as to why that all suppliers of fertiliser subsidy were all Asians or were otherwise foreigners and not even a single Malawian,” said Mwenifumbo.
“The unfortunate answer that came from these officials was that Malawians do not have capacity. We were all shocked, Right Honourable Speaker, Sir.
“This is not only exclusive to the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development. If you go to Ministry of Health, the same thing, you hardly see a Malawian being given a chance to supply services and products to government, all ministries and departments,” said Mwenifumbo.
Mwenifumbo asked the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe to ensure there is a deliberate policy, “where we should make sure that a certain percentage of those procurements must be given to Malawian businessmen, that is only when we can grow this economy. “
The Karonga central MP (Independent) said the economic hardships that Malawians are going through are “uncalled for and unnecessary.”
Said Mwenifumbo: “Most of the monies are in the hands of foreigners. When it comes to this kind of a situation, you hardly see them bringing back that money into the economy. “
He continued: “I can assure you if you give a black man, a Malawian, some business, the first and foremost, he will think of building something in Malawi here especially at his village.
“But look at our friends, they are making billions, and if you ask them as to what they have invested in Malawi, it’s zero. That’s very unfortunate. “
Mwenifumbo asked for a clause in the Bill where it should include the participation of the Malawian entrepreneurs in the provision of services to government.
Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya asked Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu SC to comment. He said “this issue of indigenous, black man, white Malawian, black Malawian, always comes up, can you describe to me, who is an indigenous Malawian? Please!”
In his response Minister Tembenu said he was yet to find a better definition for an indigenous Malawian.
“So far there in none in the Constitution. A Malawian is a Malawian,” said Tembenu.
Speaker Msowoya noted that ‘indigenous Malawian’ terminology comes up most of the times.
“The other groups also argue that the fact that, they have access to a Malawian Passport, they are citizens and therefore, they are Malawians,” he said.
Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Bill was referred to the Legal Affairs Committee of parliament for further scrutiny.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :