The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) has commended president for main opposition party, Malawi Congress, and leader of opposition in parliament, Lazarus Chakwera, for rising above party politics to condemn racist slurs his party legislator uttered to Israel-born parliamentarian, David Bisnowaty.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) legislator Alekeni Menyani branded Bisnowaty, a “foreigner” and a “Jew” during the on-going parliament deliberations.
This came when Bisnowaty, parliamentarian for Lilongwe City Center, commented on the hunger situation in the country saying during the reign of Kamuzu Banda, founder of MCP and of the nation, there were also incidents of food shortages but people could not talk about it.
This angered the MCP legislator who retaliated with the discriminatory remarks.
Following the remarks, HRCC issued a statement asking MCP leadership to “denounce this attitude before Parliament rises failing which HRCC and it 97 network members will conclude that MCP is a racist party”.
Chakwera on Monday took trouble to condemn and denounce the remarks.
As such, HRCC Board Chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba hailed the leader of opposition for rising above party politics despite resistance in condemning racist remarks and attitudes of his party MPs.
“The Human Rights Consultative Committee would like to state that as a democratic nation, racism for whatever reasons has no place in our society and for leaders like Chakwera to openly challenge his party MPs on the same, speaks volumes of his leadership qualities and steadfastness in tackling difficult and volatile issues of national importance.
“While other party operatives challenged HRCC that they were not going to make any apologies, HRCC commends and salutes Dr. Chakwera for being a reconciliatory leader who is committed to serve the interest of the larger Community as opposed to a few party operatives,” said Mkwezalamba.
He then called MPs to avoid utterances or conduct that may generate into lawlessness, anarchy or violation of rule of law.
Mkwezalamba also commended Speaker Richard Msowoya for accepting to delete the racist remarks from the Hansard so that they do not form part of th House’s record.
“As a nation we have a responsibility to serve the interest of the ordinary citizens and institutions like Parliament should always dedicate its time in discussing and enacting instruments that seeks to move our people from poverty to prosperity as opposed to outwitting each other,” said Mkwezalamba.
Bisnowaty, who took offence, wrote the Speaker of Parliament on the matter and demanded that the remarks uttered by the parliamentarian be deleted from the hansard of the day’s parliamentary proceedings.
He told parliament that he found the racist remarks very offending considering that he came from a background where he lost a large part of his family due to the infamous holocaust during the Nazi reign in Germany.
“I want this house to understand where I come from: I come from a family who are holocaust survivors.
“I come from a family where my grandmother was the only survivor of eleven brothers and sisters through the days of the Nazi in Germany,” Bisnowaty said.
“I come from a family where my mother stayed in concentration camp for a year and the only sin that was committed was that we were Jews,” he said.
The legislator said he did not expect to hear those racist remarks from any Malawian because for decades he had stayed in the country, he had considered all Malawians loving people.
Bisnowaty is an Israel national with Malawian citizenship and he made it to parliamentary seat during the May 2015 elections beating eleven contesters.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :