When you are traveling from Malawi to South Africa via bus, you are likely to face a lot of difficulties. For starters, Malawians are supposed to hold R3000 plus a stamp in their passports to confirm that they did a forex transaction.
This is something introduced during Bingu Wa Mutharika’s time. It served its purpose well at first, but with time, I believe it has outlived its purpose, it has now turned to be a sand in the shoe.
Simply put, our friends, the Zambians, Mozambicans and Zimbabweans don’t need this money to travel to SA. I will be very stubborn not to appreciate its importance, but truth be told, Immigration Officers in the borders abuse this and when you don’t have it, be very assured to bribe all the way.
I have seen life in South Africa and others numerous countries I have been to I know how it is. There are so many problems one can list. The High Commission officers do their job and they do it very well, but in the end, there is not much of political will to eliminate some of the problems people face.
Go to Lindela in South Africa, for instance, you are bound to be met by a lot of Malawians, very able to bail themselves out of such a situation, but still being kept for months and months until the government decide to do the needful.
Like I said, I can list a number of problems that simply need political will and influence to be corrected.
That’s not the case for now. Well, those are problems.
I also try to look at the brighter part. Malawi has lost a lot of talents through migration. Many talented people live outside the country.
Thus, we have very able Malawians who are helping our country economically when they start projects at home. People like my village elder Mr Simbi Phiri, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and a couple of financially able role models are typical examples.
I believe it is high time we gave them a chance to take part in choosing leaders in Malawi through voting, and on top of that, they should also have people representing them in parliament.
Thus, I, Kelvin Sulugwe, stand here today to propose that Diaspora Constituencies be formed in countries that have large numbers of Malawians.
On top of that, it would be a plus to have a dedicated government ministry for people in diaspora. At the end of the day, they are Malawians and whatever political transformations that take place in Malawi affects them too.
Our friends in Senegal and other countries have such set ups and of late, Zimbabweans have also proposed it. I believe its high time we also had political reps from diaspora. Let all Malawians feel franchised and be part of positive solutions to our development.
This article first appeared on Maravi post