Rwanda Bridge Builders sound SOS on plight of Rwandan refugees in Malawi

Write open letter to President Chakwera appealing for consideration

Rwandan nationals living in Malawi have written President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, appealing for his intervention in addressing the plight of the refugees who have been ordered to close their small income generating activities and return to the refugee camp.

Trading under the banner of Rwanda Bridge Builders, the Rwandese say the decision by the Malawi Government to relocate them to Dzaleka Refugee Camp has sent shivers in their spines as they fear that this could be part of the plan of the Rwandan Government to destabilize the well settled Rwandan refugees in Malawi.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the refugees claim that the senior security adviser to President Kagame, General James Kabarebe, made a speech in which he said he feared that Rwandan refugees in Southern African Development Committee (SADC) countries were gaining wealth and knowledge that they could end up doing what his generation did in 1990 by fighting their way back to Rwanda to take power.

Dzaleka Refugee Camp

“He vowed that his government would do everything in its power to stop them becoming a threat (translation of the speech is attached). Rwanda agents in Malawi and the Embassy staff are now busy telling refugees to register and go back to Rwanda,” claim the refugees of Rwandan origin.

They say they are saddened by the decision by the Ministry of Homeland Security to use the 1989 refugee act to order refugees, who have been allowed to live out of the refugee camp during the last 20 years, to dispose of their movable and immovable properties and go back to the camp within 14 days.

“We, the undersigned members of Rwandan political and civil society organisations in exile, would like to convey to you our deepest gratitude for the hospitality that the successive governments and the people of Malawi have extended to the Rwandan refugees living in Malawi for more than 20 years. We thank the Government of Malawi for having taken exception and allowed those who can afford it to live outside of the refugee camp and engage in income generating activities. It was an exception to the Malawi Refugee Act of 1989, which was enacted at the time when Malawi hosted more than one million refugees particularly from Mozambique, some of whom where combatants from RENAMO and thought to be posing a security risk,” they emphasize.

They say while the do appreciate the need for Malawi to actively participate in making the African dream of united continent a reality, they fear that such a decision may interfere with the internal affairs of this country.

“We humbly say African integration will start on how we treat the citizens of other African countries. It is against this background that we, the undersigned members of Rwandan political and civil society organizations in exile, would like to appeal to your excellency to examine with compassion the plight of refugees who have been ordered to close their small income generating activities and return to the refugee camp,” says the letter.

Minister Chimwendo Banda: its State security

It further says the Rwandan refugees had welcomed the policy that indicated a government intention to roll out Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in Malawi as the approach was intended to focus on settlement and self-reliance of refugees and to review the Malawi Refugee Act of 1989 to ensure that its provisions are consistent with the International Refugee Law including the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Convention) as well as its 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Convention).

In their opinion, this review would guarantee, on a permanent basis, basic rights for refugees in Malawi including freedom of movement and the right to economic activity and would allow local integration of refugees to reduce congestion in the camps, as well as reducing the burden on the State and other agencies.

Additionally, the review would be consistent with the vision of the Abuja Treaty of an African Economic Community with free movement of persons, goods, services and capital and several policy initiatives on Migration and Labour Mobility that have been adopted by the AUC, including the Migration Policy Framework for Africa: Minimum Integration Programme and Action Plan for Boosting intra African Trade (BIAT) and the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the people and government of Malawi for the brotherly hospitality and protection that your government has extended to Rwandan refugees to this day. We put our trust in your Excellency’s humanity and spirit of pan Africanism to hear the cry of refugees and reverse this decision that goes against the African legendary values of hospitality, brotherhood, and of the spirit of African Union,” concludes the letter.

There was no immediate reaction from the State House. However, in an earlier interview, the Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda, insisted that the relocation was an important exercise in addressing national security issues.

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Chinangwa
Chinangwa
13 days ago

Thank you Rwanda Bridge Builders for advocating for refugees!!

Nkhata
Nkhata
13 days ago

It is a shame that the Malawian government accepted to be a puppet of a criminal Rwandan government and condoned the harassment of poor hutu refugees who survived genocide in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dear Malawians if you knew what calvary those hutu have gone through, you would compassionate with them if you have a humanistic sense. Just read the DRC Mapping report, you will understand. Our great panafricanist Julius Malema has a long road ahead to teach us to love each other as Bantous people or as black people!😭😭

I Gumba
I Gumba
15 days ago

If the resist government directive please force them to go back home. HRDC has now gone astray in supporting everything, they can’t see how these people have dubiously acquired land in LL and even having Malawian passports. My advice to these people is TO TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT abide by the government directive

monosile
monosile
15 days ago

The grouping says, well settled Rwandan Refugees in Malawi, does it mean they are settled for good and that they will never go back? pls educate me.

PROUD HUTU
PROUD HUTU
15 days ago
Reply to  monosile

no! it means they have intergrated within the respective Malawian local communities… pretty sure you’re smart enough to understand that.

jona Tsembwe
jona Tsembwe
15 days ago

Nthawi yomwe mumabwera ku Malawi, kwanu kunali nkhondo koma pano, inatha ndipo dziko lanu likuchita bwino zeedi pachitukuko ndi chuma…choncho ndibwino mubwelere kwanu chifukwa mavuto anakubweretsani kuno aja, anatha….chinali chifundo chabe kuti mutulukeko kuDzaleka nkumapanga timabizinesi koma pano boma likuti, bwelerani….

Phwisa
Phwisa
15 days ago

Kkkkkk. Are these real refugees. It nment these people have an issue with their governments. Many of these were committed crimes during the war in Rwanda/ Burundi. They killed their fellow countrymen. And it’s time now that Malawians should have their right of doing business without competition. Malawians economically and socially have had their rights bring infringed upon by these illegal foreiners and illegal traders. The law should take it’s course now

Tuntyufe
Tuntyufe
15 days ago

Kodi nkhondo ilipobe ku Rwanda?

Ndafera Nkhande
Ndafera Nkhande
15 days ago

Pepani ine ndinasokonekera ponva kuti Rwandan Bridge Builders ndimati mwina abwera kudzakonza mulatho uja wawonengeka ku Karonga osadziwa kuti ndi madandu.Nkhani yayikuru ndiyakuti inu mudathawa kwanu chifukwa mpanipani pa ndale ndiye boma la Malawi lidakulandirani mwamntendere. Koma dziwani kuti kubwera kwanu kumayenera kutsata malamulo amdiko lathu chifukwa nkutheka kuti enanu mumachitabe zaukamberembere mukubisalira u refugeewo. Ndiye boma lililonse limakhala pa chiopsezo ndi anthu ngati inuyo chifukwa mukhoza kuoneka ngati okhlupika koma mumntima muli zina tsono ndi bwino nonse mukakhala pa modzi kuti boma lidzkuunikani bho bho. Pa Mdzaleka pali malo a buzinezi abwino muzikagulitsans o bho bho.

Kwitanda
Kwitanda
15 days ago

These Refugees are saying this because the past governments have been listening to what they are saying today and that why they have been here for over 20 years making Malawi the only country in the world having a PERMANENT REFUGEE CAMP. It’s the same that has made Malawi being robbed by illegal foreiners coming to do various businesses in the name of asylum/ refugees. Most of these who are outside the camp came to Lilongwe at night with assistance of the same Malawi security agents ( police and immigration). If they are really refugees then they can not refuse… Read more »

Kamchiputu
15 days ago
Reply to  Kwitanda

Is a refugee allowed to own property in a foreign country?

PROUD HUTU
PROUD HUTU
15 days ago
Reply to  Kamchiputu

if the refugee contributes to the economy of the nation he or she finds refuge in and also, pays tax.. where would the problem lie?

Alick
Alick
15 days ago

My Understanding the government means all who haven’t follow the procedures, they don’t have business permit. And which country allows that? let them go back and follow the right procedures to work in the country. no need to fault the government on this.

PROUD HUTU
PROUD HUTU
15 days ago
Reply to  Alick

if they don’t have permits, let the law take over.. don’t harrass those legally trading.

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