The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has called on President Lazarus Chakwera to tell
Minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale-Ng’oma and other officials to
respect the rule of law in dealing with the issue of refugees and asylum seekers.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa made the statement on Friday at a press briefing in Lilongwe.
He said CDEDI has noted with concern that in the course of
tracking down the illegal immigrants, police are hauling and bundling people,
sometimes just based on their looks, and taking them to police or prison cells
without giving them reasons for their detention.
Namiwa said this is strange and also
in the spirit of the rule of law, CDEDI is reminding the Minister of Homeland Security that Malawi has clear set judicial procedures where, within
48 hours of arrest any suspect, regardless of nationality, is supposed to be
taken to court.
He also said that the organisation is condemning the recent detentions without trial and an
apparent strange case handling that is bypassing the courts.
“Needless to remind the Minister of Homeland Security that Malawi has
extradition procedures that need to be followed when dealing with those
suspected to have committed crimes in other countries.
“Last, but not the least, let the rule of law prevail by letting issues of migration
to be handled by the Department of Immigration and Citizen Services as per its
constitutional mandate,” he said
Namiwa also expressed concern over recent public sentiments by Zikhale-Ng’oma and the Commissioner General for
Refugees Ignacio Maulana (retired) to the effect that Malawi is hosting 44
former Rwandan Army Generals.
He said the revelation has not only stirred fear among the general
public but also shown how vulnerable the country is because of its porous borders.
He added that
in a serious country, such a revelation would have forced heads to roll but here
it is business as usual which is sad.
“Coincidentally, in the same period a group of ‘Concerned Refugees and
Asylum seekers from Rwanda’ issued a statement headlined
in which they made serious allegations that the Malawi Government and other stakeholders should not merely wish away. They alleged that our Ministry of
Homeland Security [short of saying the Malawi Government] is being used by
Rwanda to victimise them
“The grouping urged
the Malawi Government to tread carefully on the instructions from Kigali,” said Namiwa.
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