Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango, has come under fire for uttering remarks deemed racist and discriminatory.
Mhango made the remarks Friday when he launched a Thumbwe Bridge construction project in Chiradzulu.
He said the main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has been infested with someone with a colonial mentality.
“Mu chipani muja mwalowa mtsamunda; atsamunda tinathana nawo. Wina wake, kaya ndi mdzukulu, koma ndi mtsamunda pa Chikwawa apa, ati akufuna kuima nawo pa mpando. Pali wina wake akuti Sidik Mia, amene uja ndi mzungu. Tiyeni makolo anga tichenjere, ena timagwamo mwa ngozi. Akafika kuno muwauze kuti atsamunda tinathana nawo. Muzafunse kuti mwachoka kuti [There is a colonialist in the party, he is coming from Chikwawa and he wants to contest. Sidik Mia is a white person. Let us be careful as some of you end up falling for the trap; when they come here, let them know we are done with colonialists. You should ask them where they are coming from],” he said.
Mhango called MCP president Lazarus Chakwera a lion, arguing nothing good can come from him.
“Kamuzu ankamutchula kuti ndi mkango, achina Chakwera nde ndi ndani? Nawoso ndi mikango [Kamuzu was referred to as a lion; what does that make of Chakwera— he is also a lion]. Richard Msowoya ndi msuwani wanga (cousin); his father moved to Karonga and he contested there on MCP ticket. I have been telling him a hyena and a goat cannot walk together, I have been telling him that Chakwera is a hyena now. You see, he has been removed from the party,” he said.
But MCP acting secretary general, Eisenhower Mkaka, described the remarks as discriminatory and undemocratic, saying the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has run out of ideas.
“That is very sad and that is very regrettable for a whole minister to start talking about race when the Republican Constitution talks against discrimination. It would be just fair to say DPP has run out of ideas and they don’t know how to actually stand this challenge and they are resorting to all sorts and manner of strategies— some good, others bad.
“This is the worst [thing] the minister can say. He has sunk so low as to start talking of colour because our Constitution is very clear when it comes to issues of discrimination. Nobody shall be discriminated against on the basis of colour, religion or race,” he said.
Human rights activist, Timothy Mtambo of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, said the remarks are not only discriminatory but racist.
“He [Mhango] is a racist. What he has said is typical of what racists say. We are in a global world and the person he is talking about is actually a Malawian; he is a citizen of this country. If he is saying tinathana ndi atsamunda [we got rid of colonialists], why do we cling to donors because the people that are helping us are people from the West and they are white. His remarks were undemocratic,” he said.
When contacted on the remarks he made, Mhango declined to comment on the matter.
“Aaaah I don’t want to talk about that,” he said.
Section 20 of the Constitution says discrimination of persons in any form is prohibited and all persons are, under the law, guaranteed equal and effective protection against discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status.
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