The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has disclosed that it has secured funding to enable it facilitate the return of Malawian citizens who are stranded in the People’s Republic of China.
At least 60 Malawians, who have been studying their Masters’ Degrees in various fields, have been locked down in China due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) restrictions on movement of people as preventative measures to the spread of the virus.
The students have been pleading with the government to facilitate their repatriation back home, but to no avail.
This prompted the Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) to write to the Malawi Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on August 22, 2020, asking authorities at the Capital Hill in Lilongwe to urgently bail out the stranded students.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa said due to inadequate and unreliable support from fellow students, the concerned students had now been subjected to desolate life as they are struggling to buy food and pay for their accommodation.
“The situation is now getting out of hand as their respective schools have already served them with eviction notices from the dormitories they are living in,” said Namiwa in his letter to the ministry.
Namiwa further stated that his organisation is saddened with revelation that the Malawian Embassy in China has been silent on the matter, despite numerous requests and reminders the embassy has been receiving from the students, asking for repatriation back home.
But in his response to CDEDI on Saturday, the Principal Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luckie Sikwese, assured that the ministry is working towards addressing the plight of students who are stranded not only in China, but other countries as well.
Sikwese said the expectation of the government is that the reopening of airports in Malawi from September 1, 2020, will also facilitate the returning of the Malawian foreign students who have completed their studies abroad, including in China.
“I write to inform you that the government remains seized of the plight of the Malawian students stranded across the world, including in China, due to the adverse impact of stringent lockdown measures on Covid-19 pandemic imposed in many countries. You may, therefore, wish to note that the government provided top-up allowances to 56 students that were marooned in light of lockdown measures in Wuhan City, Hubei Providence, the epicenter of Covid-19 in China, between January and March 2020,” he said.
Sikwese further disclosed that the government assisted Malawian students with top-up allowances to cushion them from Covid-19 lockdown measures in a number of countries in Africa, Europe and Asia.
“Meanwhile, Government has secured funding from the Treasury to assist 292 Malawian students in China, who have finished their studies and/or are continuing with their education in the country. I would like to assure you that the government is doing its utmost to ensure that the financial resources are channeled as soon as possible to all the Malawian students in China, through our Embassy in Beijing. I shall keep you abreast of any new developments on this important matter,” Sikwese assured.
Namiwa confirmed receiving the letter yesterday evening.
He, however, said CDEDI is taking the assurances cautiously, stressing they will only be relieved once the government has fulfilled its promise.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :