Malawian tenants who occupy shops owned by Asians in Limbe have threatened to go on the streets to protest against decisions by their landlords who evict Malawian businessmen from shops in favour of Chinese tenants.
The Malawian shop owners say the Chinese are coming up with lucrative offers for shop space in Limbe.
One of the evicted shop owners Khwiliro Kalimbuka said the Malawian shop owners are very vulnerable because they cannot match high shop rentals which the Chinese are offering.
“The government should have deliberate policies to ensure that the interests of Malawians are safe guarded,” he said.
Denis Kalekeni from Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) said the organization would be interested if the eviction of the Malawian tenants leads to loss of jobs.
“We would definitely support the protests; we wouldn’t want this to lead to loss of jobs for Malawians. If Malawians are evicted from shops, where do they go? This is their country,” he said.
He said MCTU would not condone such behavior by the Asians living in Malawi.
Spokesperson for the ministry of Trade and Industry Wisikesi Mkombezi said his ministry did a fact finding mission on the matter and discovered that the issue was all about tenancy.
“I am told that those evicted were renting a shop which the owner, an Indian sold to another Indian and the new landlord decided to raise the rentals, that is beyond my ministry,” he said.
This comes at a time when some people are expressing concern that the government is encouraging the use of the Chinese currency in the country as opposed to the local currency, kwacha.