MCP must avoid racism in pushing for Malawi economic indigenization 

The first part of her Njamba speech about Malawi’s need to push for indigenization of our economy, Speaker of Parliament and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) deputy secretary General Catherine Gotani-Hara was right.

Catherine Gotani Hara with vice-president Saulos Chilima at Njamba

Hara wants Tonse Alliance led by MCP president Lazarus Chakwera, once in power, to push for indigenisation and economic empowerment policies that will have black citizens in the country to have real opportunities to enter and participate in the economy.

But it was in qualifying her position, which is the second part of her speech, where Hara completely went off mark, tragically playing the race card.

She stirred racial feelings among Malawians when she, apparently, attacked Malawians of Asian origins for dominating all key government tenders in the country.

Gotani made her point when she mimicked an Asian boast.

Dziko ndi wanu, ndalama ndi wathu (you, Malawians, own the country but we, Asians, have the money).”

If Chakwera is elected Malawi President in the fresh elections, she  said,  it should be: “Dziko wathu, ndalama wathu (Our country Malawi and we have the money).”

I find these statements misplaced because, arguably, they do nothing to address matters at hand than just stirring racial feelings, instilling hatred and dividing people.

In the first place, it must be underlined that this country, and all treasures in it, belongs to Malawians and everybody who legally lives in Malawi—regardless of gender, race, tribe and region.

Of course, regarding our economy, according to information seen by Nyasa Times, Malawian of Asian origins dominate every sector.

From supplying materials, property ownership to government to supermarkets to shopping malls, Malawian of Asian origin, who are in minority, have unparalleled hegemony over black Malawians who are in majority.

However, we should also not shy away from pointing out that the question of Asian dominance in the country’s economy hasn’t started today.

Speaking history, when Malawi was getting independence in 1964, the economy was entirely in the hands of white people and, of course, a few Indians.

When the shift of government was taking place, most white people sold all their properties as they were fleeing back to their country—afraid of being ruled by a black person.

The only group of people with money then, those who bought what white people were selling, were Indians. That is why most properties we have, today, are owned by Indians.

The question of why, after 52 years of independence, we are still debating the dominance of Indians is just a confirmation of the collective failure by our government to, slowly but steadily, indigenize our economy.

Malawi’s first black president Hastings Kamuzu Banda tried to address this challenge. For instance, in 1970 he ordered Asians out of local trading centres including rural areas and restricted them to Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu cities.

However, the move didn’t bore the intended fruits. Why? Because  Banda only weakened the strong without empowering the weak. Eventually, development was transferred from the rural areas to the few urban ones. And we wonder why rural areas have stagnated?

Truth be told, the question of indigenisation and black economic empowerment should not be implemented with intention of victimizing those already in the field of play.

What government needs to do is to level the playing field by, among others, listening to rational thoughts such as those advanced by politician and businessperson Frank Mwenefumbo.

Mwenefumbo wants a policy where government should make sure that a certain percentage of key government tenders must be given to Malawian businessmen.

Besides that, government also needs to empower Malawians to have money as start-up capital for business. We need services to be effective but that cannot be achieved in Malawians don’t have the capacity to provide.

This is where this debate must dwell. Not the racial hatred route that Gotani-Hara wanted to take us to.

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Ziko watch ndarama wathu
Ziko watch ndarama wathu
1 year ago

Go to Pakistan,go to India,go to Bangladesh.go to China.you will cry why these people are arrogant to Malawians.

Ken Phiri
Ken Phiri
1 year ago

There must be laws, and policies aimed at levelling the playing field. The Malawians of Asian extraction and other foreigners are having it real good here in Malawi while the vast majority of Malawians live in abject poverty. This must stop immediately. No apologies.

Our political elite have supported this stupidity by protecting and supporting the foreigners while marginalizing their own. This too must stop.

Malawians must receive priority in land allocation, business support and other economic incentives. This is our country. We should never be treated as second class citizens.

Muhammed
Muhammed
1 year ago

Hats of for Mike filo,I am a malawian Asian…born in Malawi in 1960..my grand aunt came here in 1910…and the early Asian settlers arrived in Malawi around the 1890….. Every Asian that arrived in nyasaland really came from poor families invited by the British to come and work here,in fact many also joined the army during the British rule… When the Asians were told to move to the 3 cities in Malawi,many opted to settle in the UK…and some settled in those three cities..again to give an opportunity to our malawian brothers to start operating either a retail or wholesale… Read more »

Mtete
1 year ago
Reply to  Muhammed

Well summarised, but do not condone people like Sameer Karim corrupting Leaders like in the K145m case and several others. It’s things like this that put the indigenous Malawians at a disadvantage. I would also concur that most Malawians start behaving weardly at the first million; poshy cars, side chicks, etc.
Yes, we have a long way to go but good and wise leadership is also crucial.

Muhammed
Muhammed
1 year ago
Reply to  Mtete

I agree with you Mr Mtete,I have many times met indegenous malawians to give them the right route of doing business….many friends do admire and that is for free….a friend who did excellently well in business and the other day he took me to his new house worth about K500 million….I advised him why now.?…the first thing that you have to do is buy a small recon car and a small house and grow the business….later spend when you have enough to even buy the best car available and a good home….problem is to shine on the road but the… Read more »

Tonse Mademo
Tonse Mademo
1 year ago
Reply to  Muhammed

Most Malawian ndi amanja lende akuti chuma chizangoza ngati manna. Thus why anthu ambiri amatahngila ufiti. Amalawi and other races we have equal opportunities only that amalawi focus tilibe kwathu ndikuba, uhule, ufiti. Believe you me or titati chuma and all the businesses belonging foreign races atipase and make those races poor after sometime tipezeka kuti taononga zonse and tasauka and those foreign races alemelanso kutiposa. Business kapena kupanga successful business ndi mutu osati kukonderedwa.

President Chisokonezo
Reply to  Muhammed

Mujoine MDF or police or prison if you are real Malawians. Should the war break in Malawi , will you fight for Malawi?

NATIVE
NATIVE
1 year ago

INFACT HAVE THESE INDIANS OF MALAWI REGESTERED TO VOTE
IF THEY ARE MALAWIANS LET THEM BE SEEN ON VOTING DAY CASTING A VOTE.

Mtete
1 year ago

The writer MUST read Gotani’s speech carefully. For me, what she is trying to say is, not in exact words, Malawi must consider Affirmative Action whereby the indigenous Malawians are provided a level field to compete economically in areas like procurement, construction etc. This can be achieved in many ways including local banks opening up to Malawians of Malawi origin. Have you seen how banks smile ear to ear when non indigenous business people approach them? On the other hand they will salivate at which property they will cease when a Malawian applies for a loan. Let’s assist each other… Read more »

Tonse Mademo
Tonse Mademo
1 year ago

Think and grow rich. Laws of success in sixteen lessons. Amalawi azanga ambiri ndi amphawi chifukwa chamaganizo aumphawi. Muthu imakhala chimene umaganiza. We don’t need to plunder chuma cha ma Indians amane akufuna kupanga successful businesses akuyenela kuohuzila how to do business. MCP Kaya Boma lingathe kulanda ma business Kwa anthu akunja ndikupeleka Kwa amalawio koma it will not take long zizasekedwa ndikuonongedwa nfikubweretsa uphawi wazaoneni. Anthu akuda amalawife chimene tikufuna kuziwa ndikuzikozekeletsa and make ourselves ready kuti tiziziwa how to make money

Mumbai
Mumbai
1 year ago

Gotani please those cargo planes from south Africa should help us to transport these asians.they dint come with money,house,land nothing so let those planes take them back.Please Please

Indira ghandi
Indira ghandi
1 year ago

Asian pretend to give but they still alot.please check these people thoroughly.asians ready I will do Amin dada style.just wait.ask your friends gupta in Julius Malemia.abuje that’s the truth none is paid the article.lets see documents and your tax returns.importation if goods.how you get contracts.govt cannot be renting to asians.why?????

President Chisokonezo

I think the writer misses the point.b70 percent of the budget are procurement. Now it doesn’t make sense having Indians and Foreigner winning 90 percent of Malawi govt. Contracts hence creating them as millionaires. The contract you can give to Malawians. Even if you are billionaire, you can not win a contract in India or America or Europe.

NATIVE
NATIVE
1 year ago

INDIANS WIN CONTRACTS BECAUSE OF CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
THE PPDA IS ROTTEN TO THE CORE WITH CORRUPTION.
THIS IS VERY TRUE THATS WHY MALAWI IS A POOR COUNTRY.
GOTHANI HARA THANKYOU FOR RAISING UP THIS ISSUE.
BUT FACT IS GOTANI DID NOT MENTION ANY NAMES OR RACE.
BUT YES CHANGE IS GONA COME.
RISE UP MALAWI

atate
atate
1 year ago

Ambuje whoever is paying for this article has misguided you. Those Indians with Malawian citizenship are Malawian and no need to panic. Oyipa anthawa yekha.

ZEZE
ZEZE
1 year ago
Reply to  atate

MOST ASIANS HAVE BEEN WINING TENDERS THROUGHCORRUPTION.
CHANGE IS GONA COME.
A WIND OF CHANGE IS BLOWING OVER CASH GATERS

Patel
Patel
1 year ago

Simple look chikangawa all trees taken by indians.our men,women,and children crying.oh my beloved Malawi.our sweet asians stealing day with our open eyes.chiefs.mps.president
Judiciary
Ministers where are u?? It pains

Oyiya
Oyiya
1 year ago
Reply to  Patel

Please investigate Gotani and chikangawa forest plunder. Tikudikira yankho

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