understand the government wants to discourage people from coming into the country illegally and one argument advanced by the government is that some of them take away opportunities from Malawians since they operate businesses which authorities say Malawians should they operate. To that end, the government is encouraging foreigners to trade in towns and cities and not in rural areas.
On Thursday, MaraPost published a story by state-run Malawi News Agency which quoted Police Spokesman Kingsely Dandaula encouraging the public to report to police those they suspect to be in the country illegally.
I find the statement careless if not downright dangerous.
What criteria should one use to conclude that the person he or she is seeing is in the country illegally before alerting police?
Malawians are among millions of people on the move everyday in search of opportunity elsewhere. Thousands end up in South Africa where, unfortunately, they have been harassed by locals who similarly argue that foreigners take their jobs.
Recently, 60 Ethiopian migrants perished in Lake Malawi after their overloaded boat capsized. It’s believed they planned to enter Malawi without authorization with the assistance of local and Pres Joyce Banda says this should shop. She has said Malawi intends to discuss the issue with Zambia and Tanzania who are also concerned about illegals entering their countries.
Getting back to the earlier point of Malawi trying to keep foreigners out of rural areas, a Chinese diplomat has actually said Malawi shouldn’t complain about Chinese going into villages because our system allows it. We have a bad system that allows people to decide where to go and do business. True. And he didn’t say one more thing for obvious reasons which I will say: We are corrupt.
So perhaps instead of police relying on the public to do what Immigration should be doing, authorities should flush corruption out of the system first.
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.