Minister of Civic Education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo and local investor Bright Malopa have both cautioned against the outrage between citizens calling themselves indigenous Malawians and those of Asian descent, saying it only fan xenophobia and slide the country to economic woes.
Mtambo called for “honest conversation’’ over growing backlash both within and outside Parliament against the minority Malawians of Asian origin said to have corruptly accumulated land, businesses, government contracts and power.
“If we don’t get to the foundation of this issue, we may think we are addressing the problem when we are just tackling the symptoms, so we need to understand why we are in this situation. Who is responsible for this and how can we address the problem.
“While you are pointing a finger at somebody, you must be aware that the other fingers are pointing at you,” said Mtambo in published interview with Weekend Nation newspaper.
Mtambo said politicians should desist from corrupt practices fuelling inequalities that antagonise different sections of the citizenry.
He urged against racism and xenophobic generalisations.
“We cannot paint all people with one brush. Some of them may be rotten, but many others are good. The issue at hand is about inequality, so we have to find better ways of addressing it to avoid creating disunity and chaos in this country,’’ he said.
“The philosophy of this government is that people should be able to live in peace, harmony and equality.”
In another interview carried by the newspaper, Malopa, a former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Director General observed that not all Asians of Malawian origin participate in government contracts.
He said: ‘“We must begin to appreciate the benefits that come with cultural diversity by looking at the good side of each other. There will always be bad people in society. Greed has no race, tribe, religion or color but the ills born out of society be in black, white or Asian will be dealt by the law. We, therefore, ….have a moral duty to speak against any form of Xenophobia or racism.”
Malopa cautioned against pushing one society into a corner to avoid harvesting monstrous behaviour.
“Today, it’s the Asians, tomorrow it will be Tumbukas, then Lhomwes or Chewas. This will only end in destroying the moral fabric that holds this country together. The ills of our society should not be attached to races or tribes. It must be dealt by law,’’ he said.
Malopa commended the Tonse Alliance led government for the establishment of the ministry of Unity and Civic education, which he said will help in bridging up misunderstanding and the societal differences currently facing the country.
He advised: “We must invest in civic education in our bid to build a more tolerant and just society.”
Malopa said the current anti-Amwenye sentiments will scare off Foreign Direct Investment that Malawi badly needs.
“The world out there cares less about the majority. It pays more attention to how the majority treats the minorities and therein lies the danger,’’ he pointed out.
A social commentator Rafiq Hajat has since urged the government to launch forensic inquiries into suspected crimes committed by all Malawians, even those of Indian origins, so justice can take its course because no one is above the law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :