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Government for peaceful co-existence

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By Mandy Pondani & Wezzie Gausi

Minister of National Unity Timothy Mtambo has condemned the recent surge of what he calls xenophobic verbal attacks, hate speech and racially motivated violence perpetrated towards Malawians of Indian origin.

Mtambo has called for peaceful co-existence among people living in the country.

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In what also seems to be a direct response to planned demonstrations which are slated for March 2, 2022, Mtambo has, in a statement released yesterday, said while government acknowledges people’s freedom to hold peaceful protests and free speech, it encourages citizens to exercise the rights within the confines of the law.

A group of concerned Malawians is on Wednesday taking to the streets contending the lawsuit in which corruption suspect Ashok Kumar Sreedharan is accusing Director of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Martha Chizuma of defamation.

One of the organisers of the demonstrations Joshua Chisa Mbele has called on Malawians to rise against alleged corruption and impunity.

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In the statement, Mtambo says the alleged sins of one or two individuals should not amount to profiling of an entire race.

“Citizens are encouraged to respect the rule of law and always allow the due process of the law to take its course,” the statement reads in part.

Mtambo has since urged locals and the Indian- Malawians to avoid making provocative statements towards each other, which he said have the potential to escalate the ongoing tension.

He has also called on all citizens to conduct legally accepted business for the economic development of the country.

“Two wrongs do not make a right… As peace loving Malawians, we are all obliged to peacefully co-exist… Racial profiling, xenophobic statements, discrimination and instigating violence are all tantamount to breaking the law,” the statement adds.

Mbele has, however, said the group’s revolt against graft should not be mistaken for hatred against a specific group of Malawians.

“This is a movement against corruption and impunity. Perpetrators of such vices should be accountable to Malawians. What we are saying is that if an Asian-Malawian obtained wealth legally, it is theirs, but if they connived with any public officer and stole from our taxes, we are coming for them,” he said.

Sreedharan sued Chizuma after she mentioned his name in a leaked telephone conversation with a friend in which she faulted the manner in which he was released by courts after the bureau arrested him on corruption charges.

He claims the sentiments were damaging.

Meanwhile, the Association of Asian Malawians (AAM) has welcomed Mtambo’s statement, saying the conduct of a few should not and cannot conduct a whole community.

“We agree that channels of communication need to be strengthened in order to clear confusion. The Asian community has joined hands in the development of the nation and there is a lot more we can do together,” AAM leadership has said.

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