Calls for Malawi Labour Minister to resign over controversial labour export

Head of an NGO National League for Democracy and Development, Billy Mayaya has called for Minister of Labour Eunice Makangala to resign following revelations that Lilongwe did not sign an agreement with South Korea on the controversial labour export.

Makangala have been telling the country that South Korea agreed to employ 100, 000 Malawians. But Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Labour, Wezi Kayira has said there is no formal agreement between the two countries.

Kayira’s remarks come few days after South Korean official said there’s no labour export pact between Malawi and his country.

“The Government’s attempt to mislead desperate youth looking for employment is the most serious breach of public trust. To blatantly state that there has been a bilateral agreement between South Korea and Malawi over migrant labour when there was not is unforgiveable,” Mayaya told Nyasa Times.

Mayaya: Makangala must go and investigations be conducted
Mayaya: Makangala must go and investigations be conducted

“Civil society immediately calls for the resignation of the Ministry of Labour Eunice Makangala and an investigation made into the matter,” he added.

“This government cannot be allowed to use deception as a method for appeasing disaffected youth who are desperate for employment. Its unforgiveable,” added Mayaya an outspoken human rights activist.

Mayay further fears the scheme could lead to “modern-day slavery”.

A policy analysis lecturer at the University of Malawi, Wiseman Chijere Chirwa,   is also sceptical, noting: “The danger is that Malawi labour might be favoured for its cheapness, thereby pushing Malawians into ultra-oppressive and ultra-exploitative labour regimes.”

The move has also raised concern outside Malawi, following an Amnesty International report ‑ published on May 22, which exposed how immigrant workers are mistreated, underpaid, even raped in the Asian country.

President Joyce Banda during the May Day celebrations this year defended the government initiative, also arguing that it will help reduce unemployment levels in addition to helping Malawians acquire the much-needed experience to develop the country.

President Banda said the country’s youth would be exposed to best practices in the various countries, which will benefit the country in future.

Malawi has also been forced into an indefinite suspension of exportation of labour to Kuwait.

Up to 200,000 youths enter the job market every year in Malawi although only 40,000 new jobs are created, according to labour experts.

In Malawi, ranked among the least developed nations on earth, about 40 percent of its 13 million people live on less than a dollar a day. Foreign aid accounts for about 40 percent of the government budget.

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