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Monday, July 16, 2012

100 Days post-Bingu




It has def. been a long time since I posted.  The usual things happened in between: relocation, papers to write, research proposal to submit, a wedding to prepare...my wedding. OK, I know they weren't the usual things to do. I am very grateful to have experienced the past half-year but sorry to have been lax in my blogging.

Bingu's demise and the events after that have been on my mind this past half-year. From mixed messages (the press giving conflicting reports about his death) back in April, to the T.B. Joshua speculation, to J.B. being made president and now to the tussle between DPP die-hards, democrats, the PP and the rest of us on which way is Malawi's way forward....it has been quite a ride.  On the positive side, no one's speaking of autocracy reigning in Malawi and on the negative side, it's only been a hundred days, not enough time to see progress.  But I have come along a case study of my own in light of these events.  

Around the time of Bingu's demise, a Malawian woman applied for asylum in the UK citing anti-gay legislation in Malawi as a concern for herself (her newly-'gay' self) and fears of female genital mutilation (fgm) as a concern for her girl-children (I'm yet to hear where evidence for that comes from but anyway, I"m no know it all :-o).  Thanks to a fellow blogger who gave me links to the story, I followed it up a little. It was an interesting story no doubt. It became more interesting when I met someone who actually knows her - she told me the whole story and as I had expected, it's more a case of 'economic asylum' than homophobia and FGM. Infuriating as it is to see my country's name dragged through the mud to serve someone's personal economic agenda, I had to admit that things were not in ship-shape back home. there were a hundred and one things out of order. And as someone who blames both international and local econo-politico-market governance, I KIND of understood her actions, I mean, in a way. Ok, to a certain extent.  

So when Bingu had a cardiac arrest and was replaced by a human rights activist FEMALE who also happens to have a keen interest of recharging the economy, I am curious as to what happens next for this woman. On one hand, I don't know her prospects in Malawi.  Maybe she has little education and chances of a job in Malawi that would afford her the lifestyle her children have grown accustomed to are very little. On the other hand I feel that Malawians have a lot to be proud of, yes, we are still a relatively young nation but exploiting Malawi's weaknesses to obtain residence in other countries is something that is not only detrimental to our national development but also to the personal development of the children of parents who do such things.

So, not that we are 100 days post-Bingu (may his soul rest in peace), how's about a dispensation that will strive to facilitate an atmosphere that will not only attract Malawians to stay and contribute positively but also attract those abroad to return and help us be the Malawi we hope for.

pics: world camp for kids, Malawi

1 comment:

Peter Nkosi said...

As you point out, FGM is not practiced in Malawi, and it is a mystery to me why the lady and her supporters think that they can get away with such a stupid justification for her being granted asylum. In reference (1), check the bar chart which shows the prevalence of FGM in Africa, and you will see that Mali ranks highly, whereas Malawi is nowhere to be seen. It may be that people are thinking that these two countries are one and the same, whereas in fact they are thousands of kilometres apart, and Mali is a Muslim country. When you look at a map of Africa, you see that Malawi is not within the group of countries which practice FGM.

It is odd for an asylum seeker in the UK to raise the issue of FGM, because it is practised there, and is never prosecuted. (1)

You once blogged about another Malawian lady who used the same FGM justification that her daughter and herself should be granted asylum in UK. In addition, she also lied about her daughter being at risk of being stolen by the father's family and being forced into an early marriage. However, these lies were meant to persuade the gullible UK public to rise up in support of her bid for asylum, and I believe were never relied on in her official application, which was just based on the disruption that the pair would face if they were returned to Malawi from their comfortable life in UK. The lady had a judicial review of her case in mid-2010, but when you read the judge's written findings you see that those lies about Malawi were dismissed. (2) The lady's case ultimately failed completely, despite being very widely publicised, and supported by various politicians, including the Big Kahuna of that part of UK where she lived.

I wonder if the lady's asylum bid using the justification that she is bisexual has backfired on her. Her name has appeared on numerous LGBT websites around the World, which have linked to another similar site which highlighted her case. Additionally, her picture appeared on one of those dodgy websites where (I think) you have to pay to have it taken down. And then there was the gay-porn website!

This current case has been reported only in very minor, on-line publications during a few weeks in May, and there is no perceptible public support for her case. It suits me just fine that there are no longer unfounded attacks of Malawi being posted to the internet.

(1) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2133427/100-000-women-undergo-brutal-sexual-mutilation-illegally-Britain.html?ICO=most_read_module and at other numerous websites.

(2) http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2010/1321.html