Chakwera administration afraid to arrest illegal Asians, goes after black asylum seekers and refugees

Refugees in Malawi

President Lazarus Chakwera’s administration has been condemned for going after black asylum seekers and refugees while leaving Asian businesspersons who operate their businesses without permits.

The Chakwera administration on Wednesday arrested over 400 refugees, many of whom are Rwandan and Burundian nationals, for running businesses illegally. According to the Government, the refugees should be staying at Dzaleka Refugee Camp.

However, Malawians on social media have questioned why the Government is targeting black refugees and asylum seekers while businesspersons of Asian origin continue to operate their businesses freely.

“We Africans we are just bitter at each other. amwenye ali mbwee ntown mu (there are a lot of Asians in our towns) with no proper documentation. Kumatinyozaso kuti dziko ndi lathu koma ndalama ndi zawo koma palibe wa ndale angayishoshe zoti awathamangitse (they even insult us that the country is ours but money is theirs but no politician has the courage to kick them out).

“What’s the difference between a refugee doing business in Mangochi ndi mMwenye yemwe ali ku Area 3 ndipo akukhala mwa illegal (in Mangochi and an Asian living at Area 3 illegally) and he’s doing business?

“Chasing those refugees won’t change a thing at all,” one person wrote on Facebook.

On Twitter, social media commentator Jerome Chisikwa noted that there are several Asian businesspersons in Malawi accused of tax evasion, defrauding government and offering millions in bribes to politicians. He argued that such Asians could be the ones causing more havoc than the refugees who have been arrested by the Police for doing small businesses.

“What shall it profit Malawi by conducting a xenophobic and forceful relocation of refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka refugee camp, refugees who are fellow African brothers and sisters and most of whom are low level petty traders with no real economic or political control when compared to the Asian mafias,” Chisikwa tweeted.

Minister of Homeland Security, Ken Zikhale Ng’oma has since defended the arrest of over 400 refugees in Lilongwe saying they were living in the city illegally and depriving Malawians of economic opportunities.

Government plans to take the refugees to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa which presently accommodates nearly 50,000 refugees but has a recommended capacity of 12,000 refugees.

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