… CDEDI in pursuit to rescue Oman enslaved women
By Iommie Chiwalo
The Center for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is not relenting on the rescue mission to see the return of enslaved Malawian women who are stuck in Oman.
In a letter addressed to newly appointed Labour Minister Agness Nyalonje, CDEDI has indicated that despite a recent cabinet reshuffle, government business is not supposed to grind to a halt.
“We at CDEDI therefore, would like to believe that you have had an opportunity to have a proper handover, and therefore you only have three days left in order for you to push cabinet to approve funding for the rescue of our young women,” reads the letter signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa.
Namiwa says in case of failure by Nyalonje to passionately appeal to the Cabinet Chairperson who in this case is the President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera himself to release the funds to bailout the stranded citizens, it will be a call for action.
“Anything contrary to our request, will force CDEDI to start knocking on the doors of the international community and well-wishers within and outside the country to join in a fundraising initiative to free these vulnerable women from slavery,” he said.
Nyalonje who has confirmed to have received the letter from CDEDI is coming into this ministry at the time when the nation is deeply concerned with the plight of about 60 Malawian women that are enslaved in Oman, in the Middle East and six others cannot be accounted for in the past six months.
And before her appointment, CDEDI gave government a seven-day ultimatum to intervene after noting with dismay lack of seriousness on part of authorities in dealing with the matter in the past seven months by evidently attempting to sweep the whole matter under the carpet.
The labour Minister has indicated that “still will have to follow up the matter with relevant authorities as it is beyond labour matter,”
In its letter, CDEDI expressed shock over modern day slavery after revelations that in Oman, where our women went to seek greener pasture, are called ‘shagara’, which means slave.
“As the name suggests, our sisters were bought by agents of slavery at $2,500 each. This is the amount of money that was spent on each one’s air ticket, visa, medical tests, police clearance and related travel requirements,” says Namiwa who apart from congratulating Nyalonje for taking up an opportunity to lead a crucial ministry and has also reminded her that the Malawian youths are still waiting for the delivery on the campaign promise of the one million jobs.