The President interacting with Malawians in diaspora
* We may have different political affiliations, we may have different opinions, but we all belong to one nation called Malawi
* Hence the need to collaborate and coordinate on developmental issues for the benefit of Malawians
By Lisa Kadango Malango, MANA in New York
President Lazarus Chakwera has commended Malawians living in the United States of America for the meaningful contribution to Malawians during the flood disasters and CoVID-19 pandemic.
During discussions with Malawians living in Washington, New York and Canada on Tuesday, the President said that he was impressed with the diaspora initiatives on issues they consider important for them to make meaningful contribution to the country in time of need.
“We may have different political affiliations, we may have different opinions, but we all belong to one nation called Malawi — hence the need to collaborate and coordinate on developmental issues for the benefit of Malawians.”
He called on the diaspora not only to raise some questions on what government was doing or not doing but coming up with solutions to the problems and work together to build Malawi.
“Let’s have some kind of order, let’s change our mindset — even though you live miles away from home, there is need to engage government and fast track to make progress in agriculture, education, health and energy sector to serve Malawians with what we have.
Chakwera added that there was need to talk about long-term vision on issues affecting Malawi, citing corruption as an enemy of development which his administration has put strong measures to deal with the malpractice.
He assured the diaspora of his government support and that the issues raised of National IDs, orocessing of Visa and issues of duo citizenship would be addressed accordingly.
The President challenged them that they are all ambassadors of Malawi to the United States of America, saying they need to demonstrate the spirit of collaboration and patriotism by getting involved in what is happening at home.
He commended them for assisting Malawians when flood disasters and CoVID-19 pandemic hit the country for the past years, saying government alone cannot reach out to every Malawian.
A representative of Malawi Washington Foundation Diaspora Association, Linda Semu called on government to address issues on expensive visa processing fees, dual citizenship and easy access to Malawi national identity cards, saying they are the challenges Malawians in the US are currently facing.
“When we want to renew our visas and passports, we have to travel to Malawi because the Embassy cannot do that for us,” she said. “We ask government to consider addressing these issues for us to make positive contribution to our country.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nancy Tembo assured members of the Diaspora that government was ready to iron out all challenges Malawians are facing abroad, with an immediate pledge to the Canadian diaspora that wants Malawi government to reopen the embassy in Ottawa soon.
“We need to fast track and look at what is required to reopen the embassy in Ottawa and right now the responsible team at foreign affairs has all the details on what to do as offices are already identified,” she said.
President Chakwera was engaged in question and answers meeting which was attended by over 100 Malawians from across USA and Canada.
Some of the emerging issues tackled a cross section includes land ownership, investment in mega farms, corruption, dual citizenship, visa and passport processing, job creation among others.