It is going to be extremely difficult to present my arguments in this here article without sounding xenophobic or stereotype some specific peoples of a certain demographic at the very least.
But let me assure you; I hold no insecurities or grudges whatsoever when it comes to the issue of foreigners and aliens with particular regard to their status in our republic, I do not and will never blame foreigners for the problems we are facing as a nation nor do I think anybody should…
Komabe, unlike Lord Voldemort, we should be able to openly discuss and analyze issues that concern them without fear or prejudice.
And today dear reader I would like to draw your attention to the subject of the national Identification cards production exercise being championed by our government through the National registration bureau with support from several unilateral donors via UNDP.
Here are a few facts about Malawi in respect to National IDs:
- Malawi is the remaining SADC country yet to device a permanent system to issue out national identification cards to its citizens,
- To date the five main tools of asserting one’s citizenship in Malawi are: national passports, National Driver’s licenses, Birth certificates, proven testimony from traditional chiefs and employer references…the last two are just absurd
- In the oncoming nationwide exercise all Malawians applying for an ID card are expected to produce at least two of the abovementioned tools (in particular combinations) as supporting documents to prove one’s citizenship
- Our friends in the civil service and a couple of elite citizens have already been issued out national ID cards
- Outreach to the rest of the Malawian populace commences this end May and June onwards
- This exercise will be compulsory for all Malawians as absolutely no one will be allowed to operate in or receive any service from the government without a national ID card as it is in other countries.
- Police shall be mandated to demand proof of national ID at will and being found without the ID card shall ensure prosecution and custody.
These will do for now…
Indeed it is a welcome development that we will at long last distinguish our citizenship with something universally recognized and utilized, personally I cannot wait for the day I will carry my national identification card with pride and responsibility as a bonafide native of this beautiful country.
But, I have a few misgivings about the process and how it relates to the average Malawian.
For starters let us remind one another; that the simple overarching technicality of possessing any sort of identification identity is to separate and discriminate attributes and services to people based on tenure of the ID in question …kaya ndi student ID, work ID, Club membership ID, Medical scheme ID…etcetera etcetera the whole point being that one should be able to enjoy certain privileges over another without the elements certifying him/her an ID.
However the wise and humble folks manning our government are requesting the average Malawian to produce the aforementioned documents to yield as supporting proof so as to extricate the true m’nyasa from Burundians, Rwandans, Congolese, Mozambicans, and all other groups you my fellow countrymen deem as undesirable…that is where the funny part is…
Let me explain:
When it comes to passports, birth certificates and drivers’ licenses it is no longer a secret that foreigners are usually better placed to access their ownership than the average Malawian simply because they are always willing to put in extra grease to oil the disgustingly corrupt palms of our servicemen in charge of producing and enforcing such tools…while the average Malawian cannot afford production of these documents and when he usually does; he has to wait months on end till he gets issued with such documents.
I personally once stood in line at the Blantyre immigration offices starting from 6AM when I was renewing my passport and witnessed foreigners being ushered into the corridors and doors of personal offices as we legit Malawians burnt off in the sun outside with the line moving at a snail’s pace.
Thus my reiteration that I do not have problems with foreigners having ownership of such things but rather have issues when foreigners enjoy better access and privileges to attaining them simply because I do not have enough money to match up the current ‘ya fanta’ rates in our government departments responsible for such.
If a Burundian wants a Malawian passport, ndi zabobho, koma zisamuphwekere iyeyo kuposa eni wakefe in getting one…
Sadly this is the status quo with licenses and passports…
When it comes to testimonials from chiefs and employers apo ndiye ndizosayamba, the way it’s easy for foreigners to acquire land under traditional jurisdiction nde zikamuvute m’burundi ‘kugula’ testimonial from anyakwawa?….ma foreigner enaso ayamba kaleso kupasidwa ma ufumu…zikuchitika ku Dowa uku…true story, not that there is anything wrong with that.
So at the end of it all who will be better positioned to apply for a national ID? Your average Mwenetete from Chitipa or that wanted fugitive from the Burundian tribal genocide? It’s a no brainer.
Before you know it, years to come it will be easier for foreigners to even run for our presidency and other privileged positions than the average Malawian…its either that materializes or Malawians reach their breaking point one day and snap! Xenophobic violence and genocide…you think the Zulus in South Africa just became lunatics overnight? Sadly that is the logical processing of events that occurs when an entitled majority feels sidelined against demographics deemed undesirable, look at Donald Trump and his wall at the US-Mexican border, the English and the Pakistanis in Britain, and much closer to home: ‘the Tumbukas in area 47’…lol
In conclusion, as a son of the warm heart of Africa my arms are open to any foreigner and ethnic, I will share a drink and neighbor any man as well as bed his daughter without prejudice or favour…but I will voice out resentments if I feel there are certain unfair advantages.
Do I have recommendations? Yes quite simple really: our uniformed officers should reduce corruption and zinthu zinazi tisamapupulume just because azungu apereka ndalama ndi ma deadline awo…lets not always adapt to foreign templates and methods, we should be able to devise Malawian methods for Malawian processes….anthuwa nthawi zambiri amakhala ndi ma agenda awo