Malawi's small scale business people want refugees out


People who ply small scale businesses in Blantyre under the banner of Small Scale Business Operators Association on Thursday stormed Ndirande township to evict refugees and asylum seekers, doing similar kinds of businesses.

The grouping was acting based on the recent vacation by the High Court in Blantyre of an injunction obtained by refugees restraining government from relocating them to Dzaleka Refugees Camp in Dowa.

The Association’s general secretary, Tennyson Mulimbula has told that their move, was thwarted by the police.

“It’s true that angry small-scale traders gathered at Nyambadwe ground in Ndirande and they started closing shops that belong to foreigners as these people are plying their business illegally,” he said.

According to Mulimbula,  police in Ndirande quickly intervened and called for dialogue.

 “Our members have suspended the operation until the meeting is held. It will also be patronised by Members of Parliament and chiefs from the township, among other concerned parties,” added Mulimbula.

He has also told us that operations of a similar kind have taken place in Lilongwe where local traders have marched from Falls to Area 24.

The association held a press briefing on Tuesday where it among others asked government through the Ministry of Homeland Security to repatriate refugees and asylum seekers to their designated area, vowing that if government turns a deaf ear, they will take unspecified action.

Mulimbula has since revealed that their association has received no response from authorities on the matter.

“As I am speaking now, officials from the Ministry of Homeland Security have not yet responded to us,” he said.

However, in a recent interview with a local media house, the ministry’s principal secretary, Olive Kumbambe asked the local traders to remain calm as government is working on proper documentation before embarking on the repatriation.

There have been complaints from the public that foreign nationals are milking the citizenry by engaging in small scale businesses that are supposed to benefit the locals.