The continued political conflict in Mozambique between the ruling FRELIMO party and the RENAMO rebels has forced thousands to flee their homes.
There is a continued rise in the number of Mozambican nationals seeking refuge in Mwanza district and some in the border districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje.
They are reported to be fleeing political conflict mostly from the province of Tete where FRELIMO led government forces and the opposition RENAMO remnants are clashing over the 2014 general election.
A few weeks ago, there were reports that buses and other freight vehicles were targeted by the rebels which brought fear among the business community.
Newly elected President of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry-MCCCI expressed worry that the conflict might have a negative impact on Malawi’s trade.
Karl Tchokhotho “In terms of trade and transport from Mozambique to here there has not been any impact as of yet that we can talk about. But obviously it is a cause for concern. Mozambique is a major corridor for exports and imports to Malawi.”
RENAMO claims the poll was rigged and its leader Afonso Dhlakama vowed to go back to war unless the government agreed to his demands that RENAMO-sponsored governors and administrators be placed in charge of several districts and provinces, such as Tete.
The government of Malawi was forced into allocating extra land to accommodate the Mozambicans fleeing into the country and has just recently announced it will reopen Luwani refugee camp in Neno district to ensure proper provision of social amenities to the people
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees -UNHCR officials, however, have been appealing to the public to respect the right of people seeking asylum in the country.
It follows complaints by some Mozambican asylum seekers of harsh and unfriendly treatment by some Malawian nationals as they enter into the country.
This has been forcing them to use alternative routes to enter the country due to harsh treatment and increased military presence along the country’s borders.
UNHCR officials have since promised the asylum-seekers of better health, education, water, protection services and involvement in self-reliance activities like agriculture.