The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has disowned a letter circulating on various social media platforms purportedly issued by it addressed to the Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda, in relation to refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa, through a statement issued on Tuesday, says his organization has lodged an official complaint with the Malawi Police Service (MPS), at the
Lilongwe Police station, in Area 3, and that investigations have already commenced to trace the authors of the fake letter.
The bogus CDEDI wrote the Minister of Homeland Security, Richard Chimwendo Banda, asking him to speed-up with the process of removing all refugees, who are operating various businesses in the country's townships.
It claimed that it made the request based on its investigations whose results showed that refugees and asylum seekers are involved in criminal activities such as theft and robberies throughout the and that they are taking up businesses, which Malawians were supposed to do.
"We are all aware that the Birundians and Rwandans are supposed to stay at Dzaleka Camp but they found themselves doing businesses in our townships especially in Biwi/ Mchesi in Lilongwe and other parts of Malawi. This is high time for the government to act as the injunction obtained by these people was already vacated at court by the government," reads part of the letter from the fake organization.
But Namiwa advised the general public to ignore what he termed as "this misguided communication, which we strongly believe is the work of some criminal minds, that have ulterior intentions of taking the law into their own hands, to inflict harm on innocent people, that are carrying out their businesses in some parts of the country".
"The members of the general public might wish to know that CDEDI, embarked on a project to lobby the Malawi Government, through the National Assembly, to review the 1989 Refugees Act, which is very archaic, and consider drafting laws to allow the integration of the refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi, including the improvement of their welfare at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa district," says Namiwa in the statement.
He says having delivered a petition to the National Assembly on June 1, 2021, through the then Chairperson of the Parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee, Yusuf Nthenda, the position of CDEDI has not changed, and that shortly it will embark on massive sensitization and lobby campaigns to ensure that the outdated Refugees Act should be reviewed.
Namiwa reiterated that refugees and asylum seekers came to Malawi in search of peace, which they could not find in their own native countries, but Malawi.
"Additionally, by virtue of being human beings, the refugees and asylum seekers, have basic rights, and that ought to be respected and promoted at all times. The members of the general public, therefore, should further be advised that as a law-abiding institution, CDEDI cannot be seen to be flouting the law, by commenting on issues that have been presented before the court, in as far as the issue of moving the refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp, as directed by the Homeland Security Ministry a few months ago, is concerned," he adds.
Namiwa has since challenged Malawians to desist from making pronouncements, and displaying some conduct that would incite hatred and anger towards some sectors of the society, including the refugees and asylum seekers, to start living in fear.