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Here we go again

With Stephen Dakalira:

The chaotic scenes in Johannesburg, South Africa {RSA) are upon us once again and as is usually the case, people from other countries, including our own kinsmen, are busy crying wolf when the signs have all been there in recent years that the situation in South Africa is akin to a loose cannon. No, I am not trying to raise unnecessary alarm but simply telling it like it is.

Look, we all knew years back that things were taking a delicate turn in the so called Rainbow nation when the first wave of xenophobic attacks hit. Foreign nationals, including Malawians, had to be whisked away in dramatic fashion as our government hired several buses for the rescue operation in RSA and the buses filed their way to Kamuzu Stadium which was the drop off point, before the returnees connected to their respective homes; gone and forgotten. This is why a majority of them made their way back to RSA and we saw how, in between, there were still shoots of violence but South African officials had been quick to ward off any attempts to brand such occurring as xenophobic attacks. Now here we are with the attacks full-fledged just like before, perhaps even much worse.

People are destitute because of the limited opportunities available in their home countries no wonder folks from districts such as Mangochi and Mzimba are forced to trek down to South Africa just so they can earn a living. Why have we, as a country, failed to create enough jobs? Why have we failed to expand the economy? Why have we failed to lure big time investors who are capable of setting up big factories and companies? Better yet, why have we been restrictive when it comes to supporting the business sector especially Small and Media Scale (SME) entrepreneurs? We should be asking ourselves these questions and forget the nonsense that government does not run business; we all know that it is a major stakeholder and is supposed to create a conducive environment for industry to flourish, a development that would, in turn, spur the local economy.

I am told that, once upon a time, we had big companies with British and German backgrounds that were running several factories and estates that were the heart of production but sadly that is now all a piece of history. Unless and until our governments make a paradigm shift from their business as usual approach will we then see notable change in the local economy and perhaps, our people would no longer be turning to South Africa for greener pasture.

On the other hand, are we, Malawians, not being hypocrites? Day in day out, we pre-occupy ourselves by chastising people from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania who are plying their businesses in our major cities and towns and yet we want to be treated differently while in foreign lands? Granted, our behaviour has not been to the extreme but nonetheless, we have also inflicted pain and misery on our brothers and sisters so this should perhaps give us a reality check.

Otherwise, nothing can justify the barbaric xenophobic attacks and the South Africans who are perpetuating them ought to be ashamed as not only are they being inhumane but they are also tarnishing the image of their country, which their forefathers work so hard to clean up after the apartheid regime. Why should they claim that people are taking their jobs when the world is now a global village? Do we not have South Africans working on the African continent and beyond the region? What these people are forgetting is that our economies are intertwined and if other African countries were to reciprocate the xenophobic favour, I think the South Africa economy would not withstand the heat.

Keep that team active

I was very disappointed, but not surprised, with the loss by our female national football team, She Flames, to Kenya’s women national football team by three goals to nil in Kenya despite having won the first game on home soil by three goals to two.

I see great potential in the squad and it would not be a bad idea to maintain the crop and as the captain Tabitha Chawinga pleaded said the other day, that planned overseas camp they were promised if they beat Kenya should still happen to boost their morale.

While we are on the subject of football, what is this I hear that Flames players get a miserable 30 Thousand Kwacha as a game bonus for each win? Where is the motivation in that? Honestly, should we get concerned when national teams underperform? What have the ‘big bwanas’ been smoking at Chiwembe Village? I bet it must be much worse for Malawi Queens despite all their glamorous showing on global stage.

Please, let us re-organise our sports systems if we are to cease being ‘journeymen’ in every tournament we participate in.

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