Minister Richard Chimwendo engages Malawians in the diaspora- Calls for more engagement at policy level

By staff reporter

The Minister of Homeland Security, who is also the Director of Youth in the Malawi Congress Party has called for more active participation of Malawians living in the diaspora especially in policy matters. He was speaking on Sunday  at a virtual meeting that was organising by the Malawi Congress Party Diaspora Network (MCPDN) and featured Malawians from various parts of the world including UK, USA, Republic of Ireland RSA, Canada, UAE and, any others

In his address to the participants Chimwendo said the current regime is very much aware of the role the diaspora played politically  in helping to  get rid of the previous DPP regime “ let me assure you that we know of the role that you played and role that you continue to play” said Chimwendo . The minister went on to highlight of what has been happening since Tonse government was ushered in power. He said President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has been at the forefront of servant leadership that is aimed at bringing discipline and responsibility in the way government is run. He said the idea is to bring trust to the power with their government so that Malawians should now know that the new regime is aimed at benefitting the many and not just a few.

Well coordinated diaspora vital – Hon Richard Chimwendo

Chimwendo also spoke highly of the Agriculture input program (AIP), the flagship initiative that was at the heart of campaign promises when people were promised cheap fertiliser. He said despite the challenges that were faced in trying to implement this program, it has ended up being a success with over 3.5 million Malawians benefitting from cheap fertiliser that guarantees that with good rains, probability of bumper harvest is high.

Chimwendo also reassured the diaspora that the issue of Dual citizenship is not dead, and that government is still working on it. He said the bill was already assented and that government is working of the operationalisation of it – something which is likely to happen before the end of the year.

Malawi Congress Party Diaspora Network Deputy communication director Nic Thindwa told Nyasa Times that the diaspora also used the opportunity to voice out some of the concerns that they thought the minister and his ministry should look at. Thindwa said among the other issues the diaspora raised concerns for are; the problems many of them face in trying to renew their passports. They asked the minister if the renewal system can be made easy, as many of them still struggle even when using the embassies in their respective countries. Thindwa said the diaspora also requested if the process of applying for ’citizenship identity cards’ can be facilitated in the embassies for the diaspora.

Members of the diaspora also expressed concern over the recent increase of rape and defilement cases. The minister said his ministry is aware and is doing its best to make sure that those caught are brought before prosecution as quickly as possible. The diaspora proposed the need for Malawi to have a sex offenders registers that can enable those with previous sex crimes to be barred from certain jobs or having access to kids or vulnerable people. The minister said work of developing a sex offenders registers was already in the pipeline.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Chairperson of MCPDN Chalo Mvula welcomed the Minister’s move to engage with the diaspora.  “Most of the diaspora think they have been forgotten, but it’s reassuring to have a member of the cabinet engaging us, to hear not just our concerns but also ideas which we think can be helpful to the new government “. Mvula went on to say the MCP diaspora members are ready to work with the government of Dr Lazarus Chakwera in order to make sure that the promises that he made in the manifesto are fulfilled for the betterment of Malawi

Chimwendo finished off by encouraging the diaspora to be more proactive and to engage the government more especially on policy level. He said there was need for proper communication channels to be established so that the voice of the diaspora can be heard. He also noted that government is geared to benefit more from the diaspora if these channels are there and it would enable government to know the skill levels, talents and how best to work with the diaspora.

A Cross section of Malawians in diaspora engaging the minister