‘Don’t sell Malawi to illegal Immigrants’ – JB

President Mrs Joyce Banda has made an impassioned plea to Malawians not to aid illegal immigrants into the country, saying the continued influx of illegal immigrants poses a threat to the country’s economy, security and even jobs.

“Interestingly I have some passports of people who cannot even utter any single word of Chichewa or any other Malawian language. And they got their passports in Mzuzu. Let’s love Malawi,” she said.

Banda said neighbouring countries such as Tanzanian and Zambia have already engaged Malawi in discussions to help curb illegal immigration.

President Banda and First Gentleman laying their wreaths on July 20 victims

The President said this in Mzuzu during an Interdenominational memorial prayer service for the 20th July 2011 victims held at the Mzuzu stadium on Friday.

The prayers were held under the them: ”Time for healing and Reconciliation” but Civil Society groups, who organized the function  distributed red fliers with another parallel theme ”Uniting for
Peaceful resistance against bad and economic and democratic governance”

According to the President’s statistics about 500 – 1000 illegal immigrants are aided to enter Malawi per week.

Banda said at this rate Malawi, which is almost five times the size of Zambia but with
almost the same population, will be overwhelmed in the next five or ten years if this trend is not curtailed.

A few weeks ago government sacked the head of the immigration department Elvis Thodi and no reasons were publicly given.

The President’s pronouncement come as Malawi is drafting legislation that will restrict the way foreigners conduct business in the country.

It also comes hot on the heels when the Malawi government banned Chinese nationals from doing business in rural areas and districts following complaints from the indigenous people about unfair and unorthodox business practices.

Banda said she is particularly sad with those that pass through Malawi’s road blocks saying that is a clear indication of rampant corruption.

Earlier, the President accompanied by the Vice president Khumbo Kachali, the clergy opposition parties civil society organizations and members of the bereaved families, laid wreaths at the graves of the victims before proceeding to the stadium.
Forgive but not forget

Banda said the prayers were important for Malawi as there were a reminder for the need to defend our country without fear or favour.

“This is supposed to be an emotional event not only for the bereaved but for all Malawians. For some of the bereaved families they lost breadwinners and it is painful. It is regrettable that we lost 20 people,” she said.

“We are talking about death and violation of human rights here and if I may ask the Clergy as to what extent to which these bereaved people can forget and forgive? Let’s move forward but we should not forget,” she said.

Commenting on the theme of the day, the President   said forgiveness is important but should not blind people in avoiding responsibility.

“Forgiving each other does not mean we should forget what happened. We must never allow to ourselves to open the wounds again,” the President said.

20th July Commission Report

The President said recommendations in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry Report on 20th July Killings were for all Malawians.

She singled out one recommendation that urged the government to investigate and prosecute all those who had a hand in the killings saying her government will ensure that justice prevails.

“This is not about witch- hunting or vengeance but it is about how we move forward the process of healing and reconciliation without accountability” the President said.

But she contradicted herself saying she has no powers to enforce the recommendations of the report.

“I cannot just start arresting people implicated. I have taken the report for legal advice so that I see the way forward,” Banda said.

The President then invited all members of the bereaved families for any audience at the Mzuzu State Lodge on Saturday.

Voice Mhone of the civil society laying his wreath

Vice President walking to lay his wreath

Laying the wreath

Women's Guild at July 20 commemorations in Mzuzu

President Banda and First Gentleman laying their wreaths on July 20 victims

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