By Iommie Chiwalo
The conflicting remarks by Foreign Affairs Minister on Oman enslaved women has been greeted with displeasure by Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) saying is just a ploy to conceal the ordeal.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa, says what the Foreign Affairs Minister Nancy Tembo said to the press is just a trial to conceal the truth on how the allocated MK400 million was used.
Tembo is on record to have told the national assembly that Malawian women enslaved in Oman are refusing to come home.
However, Namiwa says his organisation finds such sentiments to be highly insensitive and a futile attempt by the ministry not only to frustrate efforts to rescue the women from slavery but, also, to dodge being held accountable for the MK400 million that was set aside for the repatriation of these women.
“It is not a sheer coincidence that such remarks are coming a few days after CDEDI wondered why the country’s daughters were still enslaved in Oman when government dutifully set aside MK400 million out of a total budget of MK2 billion that was approved by Cabinet,” he said.
It is confirmed that cabinet approved the money specifically for the repatriation exercise through Department of Disaster and Management Affairs (DoDMA).
Namiwa wonders that instead of telling Malawians the whereabouts of the money, Hon Tembo is making such regrettable sentiments in the august House.
“If she were sincere and transparent enough, she would have told the nation the number of women government has rescued using the funding and also indicate particulars of those who are refusing to come. Sadly there is no information of that sort,” Namiwa said.
Namiwa has since called on authorities to respect the core values of governance such as transparency and accountability.
“In the interest of transparency and accountability, CDEDI and, indeed, well-meaning Malawians expect an explanation from both the minister as well as DoDMA, regarding the MK400 million included in its allocation for the repatriation of the enslaved women,” he said.
Meanwhile, CDEDI considers that the sentiments by Hon. Tembo pass for torture of the country’s daughters in Oman.
“Actually, the insensitive sentiments have exacerbated the pain the enslaved Malawian women are enduring; hence giving the impression that the Tonse Alliance administration is treating these women as such due to their poor family backgrounds,” says the CDEDI Chief who adds that it would have been a different case if the women in question were daughters of families of influence in society, especially those with political connections.