Chinese ‘investors’ brace up for August 17 demo

By Collins Mtika, NyasaTimes

Chinese shop owners in Mzuzu and their Indian counterparts have beefed up security at their shops to avoid looting on the scheduled August 17 nationwide demonstrations.

They have also indicated that they intend to hire many armed Policemen to guard their shops on the day.

“What we have been doing since the July 20 is sealing most of the windows and increasing reinforcing bars,” said a member of Asian community, who did not want to be named.

During the July 20 demonstrations many of the looted shops belonged to Chinese and Indian nationals.

Pan: Solution will come from tolerance and talking to each other

“We are still weighing options of whether to sue or not because we have had visits from the Office of President and Cabinet, City Council and some Ministers. If nothing is done to compensate us then we are going to mobilise and sue,” he said.

There is a feeling in Malawi that Asians have exacerbated the forex situation as many have been caught trying to externalise the same to their home countries.

Many have put flat iron sheets, or block boards where they have been windows before and extra burglar bars.

Some have closed shops and have left Mzuzu. About four shops have been closed.

An investor who is building a hotel in Mzuzu last week gave all his workers a three weeks holiday saying construction will resume when the situation is calm. He has since left for an unknown destination.

“While we sympathise with Malawians on their causes, we blame the Civil Society because they are always telling people about their rights but not their responsibilities. On top of that no civil society leader has openly condemned the looting and damages that occurred or even visited us,” said the businessman.

He said Civil Society leaders are busy talking about the death of people and not the  looting.

China Ambassador to Malawi, Hejun Pan, told The Nation last week that the Chinese businesses were afraid after some of their shops were looted on July 20.

Hejun said the riots were “unprecedented” on the country’s record which should be avoided.

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