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This Hatred of Foreigners

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Just a few blocks from where I lived, a shop in the neighborhood was looted in broad daylight while the owners of the shop fled for their safety. The shop owners, were a Burundian family who had been living in the area for more than five years and were considered part of the neighborhood.

A little background: Residents of Mchesi, a suburb 6 kilometers away from my area of residence had accused a Burundian man of murders and robberies happening in the area. Residents and people in the surrounding areas (Area 23, Kawale, Area 24 and 36 etc.) intimidated and looted residents who were not Malawians. Many non-locals evacuated their homes and businesses until order was restored: It was later discovered that the true perpetrator was Malawian. This happened last year.

And this year, In October there had been ongoing protests against foreigners and foreign-owned enterprises. The locals suspected a Burundian man of committing a violent crime. And as you can guess, the police also later confirmed that all of the suspects apprehended were of Malawian descent.

These are two of the major examples which made the news, but I am sure there have been several incidences where foreigners have been targeted merely because of their nationality.

What saddens me is the fact that, nothing major is really done to address this, and the situations have never been recognized as a big problem.

In the aftermath, foreigners continue to live in fear, and have their businesses destroyed, the police catch the real suspects and everyone moves on except of course for the victims who are reminded that their neighbors could turn on them, any minute.

I am running away from using the word Xenophobic even though the term fits perfectly. However, I believe such violence incidences against foreigners have happened far too often for us to dismiss them as just ignorant or bad reactions to situations. It is clear that such violent acts reveal to us the deep hatred that we harbor for foreigners and that all we need is just a reason to act on those feelings.

Something serious has to be done about situations like these before its too late. People ,the locals must understand that inflicting harm to foreign nationals is a felony for which they might be prosecuted.

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