By Cyrus Bengo

Teamplus Television has establishes that unspecified number of desperate jobless Malawians are set to leave in phases hunting for greener pastures in Israel.

On Thursday, Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Kondwani Nankhumwa alleged that a plane from Israel was expected to jet into the country to pick at least 221 Malawians.

But his statement attracted the wrath of ministers and government lawmakers who described the claim as so sensitive and demanded evidence from him.

Nankhumwa is next Monday expected to provide feedback. Surprisingly, an Israel Airbus A321-251 landed at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe Friday afternoon. Airport authorities declined to provide details.

However, our findings through random interviews with some youths ready to travel out show that the Malawian labourers will be working in farms in Israel.

We have gathered that the people underwent interviews at Golden Peacock in Lilongwe where Ministry of Labour officials in the country and those of Israel constituted the panel.

We have confirmed that each of the Malawian labourers is meeting their own transport expenses amounting to $1500 which a local commercial bank (name withheld) is providing in forms of loans.

“We are told the bank shall deduct $1700 from our earnings in the first three months in Israel. In our signed contracts, it shows I have benefits of up to K7.5 million but after some deductions it gets down to K2 million,” said one Malawian expected to leave in a Tuesday flight.

Another source further told us the bank in question closed around 6pm on Wednesday as it was finalizing the visa processes for some of them.

This coincides with what Finance Minister Simplex Chithyola Banda told parliament during his Mid-Year Budget statement a few days ago that Malawi was expected to export over 5,000 labourers, through a government-to-government arrangement with an unnamed government.

He said the move would see the country earning about $180 million (about K306 billion) annually. Our investigation finds that the Malawian labourers will replace a gap created by farm labourers from Thailand; reportedly withdrawn in the wake of the Israeli-Palestine war.

For years, the Thailand nationals have been seeking work in more developed countries where there is a shortage of semi-skilled labor — at wages considerably higher than they can earn at home.

On October 9 this year, Reuters reported that tens of thousands of workers in Israel from nations including Thailand and the Philippines send their earnings home to support their families. That money also helps to fire up their native countries’ economies.

It added around 30,000 Thai nationals worked in Israel, making up one of the largest migrant worker groups in the country, where fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen was still ongoing.

Reacting to the development, Economic Freedom Movement leader, Joseph Peshi stressed the government must be clear on the issue and even explain criteria to silent the labourers in question.

“They must inform the general public the procedures they used to recruit the farm workers, their benefits and how government intends the benefit from this labour exportation,” said Peshi.

He also called on the government to assure Malawians of the workers’ safety with ongoing war in Israel; suggesting suspension of the trip until right pricedui are followed.

And Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives-CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa argues the
secrecy “creates the impression that either the Tonse Alliance government is into human trafficking or is running a counterfeit government contrary to the constitution and the human trafficking laws.”

“This government should wake up to the reality that in this day and era it close to impossible use the archaic style of governance.

“They cannot manage to hide they can ran but they cannot escape from the versatile social media and the high alert citizenry; so the sooner they learn to be accountable and transparent the better,” adds Namiwa.

When contacted, Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu said government was working on a statement on the same.

We will therefore update the story once we get the government’s official position!

Team Plus TV

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