Youths in Karonga and Chitipa districts have petitioned government asking it to rescind its earlier decision asking Chinese nationals doing business in the districts to move to major cities arguing that the benefits of the Chinese staying outweigh the alleged disadvantages.
“The majority of Karonga people are supporting the idea that the Chinese must remain since they are their pillar to their basic needs. While only a few vendors who are mostly foreigners from Tanzania oppose the idea,” reads part of the letter co-signed by Chairperson Ngwire Vyuyi, Secretary Steve Simusokwe and Treasurer Willard Mwangonde.
The Malawi government through Karonga district Commissioner had set 28th June as an ultimatum for the Chinese to vacate the district , an apparent move touted as a government bowing to a ‘frenzy’ that the Chinese were monopolizing business opportunities in the districts.
Similar protests for the Chinese ouster have already swept through Dowa and Mzimba districts.
Under the banner of Karonga Youth for Justice and Development (KYJD), the youths said in a petition dated 25th June, 2012 and a copy made available to Nyasa Times, to the principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, that the Chinese had developed the district both in terms of infrastructure and employment.
“Karonga is being developed by local businessmen, who have constructed big buildings which can be used for shops or warehouses shops. As a result such shops have proven to be ideal for mostly Chinese Businessmen and some few Indians. Local vendors cannot rent these shops,” they said.
In another development the youths are asking government to upgrade Karonga to a Municipality status saying it is one of the fastest growing Towns in Malawi.
“Karonga is a border district which means the is a lot of Border to Border trade among Malawians and Tanzanians, approximately, 20 trucks of cement pass through the border to Karonga, Mzuzu, Kasungu and Lilongwe. We also have Kayelekera Uranium Mines and an International Airport,” they also claimed.