Malawi traders warn xenophobic attacks in Rumphi

Burundians and Rwandese doing business in Rumphi district risk xenophobic attacks as members of the community and the businesses feel hurt by these foreigners whom they claim most of them don’t have legal papers allowing them to trade.

Chairperson of the Rumphi Businessmen Association (RBA) Aram Beza confirmed this in an interview with Nyasa Times.

”The situation is tense and volatile. If it’s not handled with urgency, it can lead to xenophobic attacks like what happened in Dowa recently,” said Beza.

He said many people; especially the business community have been raged with the way how these foreigners conduct themselves on the market.

Beza: Stern warning

Beza said the foreigners bribe managers of wholesale shops and order basic commodities in bulks so that they control and monopolize the sale of these basic commodities.

”It was even worse during the time we experienced acute sugar shortages. These people bribed People’s Store manager and bought 400 bales of sugar so that communities should be buying from them at a hiked price,” said Beza.

He said this prompted the association to engage officials from the district council in order to amicably sort out the issue before local communities take the matter in their own hands.

When contacted, district trade officer in Rumphi, Sweeny Msosa said these Burundians and Rwandese are shrewd business person.

Msosa said some of the foreigners have acquired Malawian passports and others have business permit resident as such they can’t be chased off the market.

Director of Administration at Rumphi district council Dominic Mwandira said the council was aware of the complainants and that they have forward the matter to the Immigration department.

”We have engaged our colleagues from the immigration department to come and scrutinize the foreigners if they have relevant papers to do business in Rumphi,” Mwandira said.

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