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PASSPORTS MESS: Minister Zikhale Ng’oma, Immigration Chief Kalumo given 15 days to clear the mess or resign

A grouping of concerned citizens led by activist Edward Kambanje on Wednesday held peaceful demonstrated in Blantyre demanding the resignation of Minister of Homeland Security Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma and Immigration Chief Charles Kalumo over the ongoing passport issuance mess.

The peaceful demonstrators, who marched from Kamuzu Upper Stadium to Blantyre Central Business Area, presented their petition to President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera through Blantyre District Commissioners (DC) Office.

Speaking after presenting the petition fearless activist Kambanje said the passport system hacking at Department of Immigration is a clear indication that Zikhale Ng’oma and his errand boy Kalumo failed their duties hence the need for the two to resign.

According to Kambanje, a communication that Zikhale Ng’oma and Kalumo made on the resumption of passport printing seems not to be true as hundreds of Malawians continue failing to access the traveling document.

HERE IS A FULL PETITION

We, the Concerned Citizens of Malawi (People Power Movement) on behalf of Malawians, we hereby present our petition to you, Your Excellency the State President on this day today the 3rd

April, 2024.

Malawians have been facing numerous socio-economic challenges since the Malawi Congress party led government took over in the year 2020. Malawians believe that the socio-economic challenges being faced are man made by the current leadership.

Your Excellency, just recently in your state of the national address you declared the country a state of disaster, this alone indicates that your leadership has completely failed to avert hunger by following policies that can sustain food security by utilizing the available natural resources that God blessed us with i.e. fertile land and water.

Your Excellency, in each financial year funds are being allocated into several priority areas/ projects that have never been properly used. Government has been acquiring loans and grants for the projects that have not been completed. This signifies that Malawi is lacking good, principled, servanthood and accountable leadership.

Our petition: Passport Issue

Malawi has faced passport issuance challenges since 2021, when the government terminated its contract with Techno Brain, which had been the supplier of Malawi’s passports since 2019.

In 2023, the government, unable to find a replacement, re-engaged the company on a temporary basis. Still, the immigration department had to scale down production many times because of a shortage of materials or failure to pay outstanding bills.

However, Malawians and the rest of the world were shocked when the Immigration department announced that they have stopped issuing passports that a cyberattack had compromised with the system and that the hackers were demanding billions in ransom. The citizens were assured that government was putting some security measures to identify and apprehend the hackers. On this note Your Excellency, Malawians are demanding proper explanation on this issue.

Your Excellency, as of today the ministry of Homeland could have revealed the identities of the hackers and could have said more about how communications with the alleged hackers were occurring -for example, if they are using computers or other gadgets like mobile phones because today’s technology is easily traceable.

The situation has left hundreds of passport applicants stranded that includes those doing cross border business as they are no longer travelling. Some patients seeking medical treatment abroad are denied their rights to medical care. Students in international universities and others who secured employment outside the country including the much touted Israel farm jobs are failing to meet their deadline.

OUR DEMANDS

With the above statement, we have observed that there is laxity and poor administration in government institutions mainly at the department of Immigration and Citizenship Services headed by Brigadier Charles Kalumo and the Ministry of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale Ng’oma.

On behalf of Malawians, we demand the following:

1. The immediate resignation of the Minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale Ng’oma who has failed to come up with honest statements to Malawians and for failing to bring the suspected hackers to book if “indeed” they exist.

2. The immediate resignation of the Chief Immigrations Officer Brigadier Charles Kalumo for failing his duties to control the system which may lead to other countries from trusting our travelling documents and also for putting Malawians who want to travel outside the country in jeopardy.

3. The state President should explain to the nation as to when the system will be fully restored and that when will people fully access passports.

4. Though reduction of passport fee, but still this is not enough we are demanding the reduction of essential commodities such as fertilizer from MK79,000 to atleast Mk45000; sugar must be made available with immediate effect with normal market price. Maize be available in all Admarc depots to avert hunger in this country.

We therefore ask you to address our demands within 15days or else we shall continue demonstrations in all major cities across the country.

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