Karonga Central Member of Parliament (MP) Frank Mwenifumbo has described as unfortunate the steadily growing tribalist tendencies getting haywire in the country, saying they can explode into something “very” disparaging.
He said tolerance must quickly be invoked in the minds of everyone to avoid a replica of the 1994 Rwanda escapade where thousands of people were massacred based on tribal differences.
A spirited Mwenifumbo told Nyasa Times, in an exclusive interview in the capital Lilongwe, that he was baffled why some people were taking people from the northern region – including politicians – as “simply” a power hungry kindred.
North not power hungry
He said people who believe in the notion that people from the northern region are power hungry have to “seriously get back to read and understand the history of this country.”
Mwenifumbo said, “on the contrary, people from the northern region have always wished this country well.”
In his analysis, he said even before Malawi became independent, it was mostly people of the northern region that, after clearing “the way”, invited Malawi first President Kamuzu Banda to come back and lead them.
“It was the likes Orton Chirwa, Chisiza, Banda and, of course, with others like Chipembere that invited Banda from abroad to let him lead them. Nowhere is it written that people from the northern region fought to be leaders. They simply wanted the best for this country,” said Mwenifumbo.
But Mwenifumbo said it was sad that during the 30year rule of Malawi and Kamuzu northerners suffered the worst of times.
“Chirwa actually died in detention, so many others. A lot of northerners, including some members of my family, died mysterious deaths,” said the politician-cum-businessperson.
He repeatedly said on-point that the remarks that are recurrently rained on people from the northern region as people who are “hungry for power” as baseless as history corrects them as not being such characters.
“Even at the dawn of multiparty, it was Chakufwa Chihana who fought had for it. Again, for the good of this country. [Bakili] Muluzi hijacked but Chihana chose to work with government again to support it until his death,” he said.
Time to act
The independent legislator said it was, therefore, unfortunate to say people from the northern region are bad and power hungry, saying there is need for nationwide thoughts on the matter.
“It has come to a point where people will blatantly say Atumbuka (generalizing people from the northern region) are bad. That Atumbuka are power hungry. Some have gone to the extent of openly saying that they hate people from the northern region. What’s wrong with Atumbuka,” queried Mwenifumbo, concerned.
The issue, he said, looks simple at hand but “can explode” to something tragic.
“That is how the genocide in Rwanda started – with speaking. We surely don’t want a repeat of that in Malawi. It has always been a peaceful country,” he noted.
Malawi is a multi-tribal country with the main tribes such as Ngonde, Tumbuka, Lambya, Chewa, Ngoni, Yawo, Sena, and Lhomwe spread across through the three regions of the country.
But since the one party rule of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) under Kamuzu Banda, people from the northern region continue to feel rejected and discriminated.
On a number of occasions people from the northern region have felt that government deliberately sets up policies that purportedly aim at letting them benefit minutely from the national cake.
One of such policies has been the quota system whose aim is to make sure that every district is evenly represented at Malawi colleges. But the northerners feel the system punches them in the stomach as hundreds of their brainy ones are left out on selection with less performers from the other districts being picked.
The region has recently been advocating for a federal system of government that would make it more of an independent state, and therefore enjoy its resources and make its own policies.
Government has been playing hide and seek on the matter.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :