ZANZIBAR, Tanzania Sep 4 – National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has led his colleagues in the ongoing 50th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Africa Region Conference in condemning the wave of attacks on foreigners that has stocked the South Africa’s capital, Johannesburg.
Muturi who is leading the Kenyan delegation has challenged South African leaders to go beyond issuing statements on the matter and act.
He also urged his counterparts from South Africa to impress upon the government to bring to book the perpetrators of the violence.
“It is unfortunate that sections of the African Continent are finding it hard to interact with each other,” he said.
Muturi observed that the physical boundaries that divide African countries should remain imaginary, adding that if nothing is done on the issue, it could be replicated elsewhere in the continent.
In his statement condemning the violence, the Leader of the Minority in the National Assembly MP John Mbadi (Suba) asked the South African government to take stern action beyond issuing statements condemning the chaos.
He called on the South African legislators to impress upon their government to ensure that citizens from other African countries were treated with dignity.
“When a child in your homestead misbehaves to the neighbors, the whole household gets a bad name and it is your responsible to come out strongly and discipline that child in a manner that demonstrates to the whole village that you do not condone such kind of behavior,” he said.
While echoing the sentiments by Mbadi, Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua informed the forum that when Starehe MP Charles Njaguah made xenophobic statements against Tanzanians, the government of Kenya was quick to apprehend him noting that such actions are likely to severe relations between states if condoned.
He called on the government of South Africa to take a decisive action to apprehend the criminals fueling the violence.
Several leaders in South Africa including President Cyril Ramaphosa have already issued statements condemning the violence.
The members who expressed dismay on the kind of violence meted on fellow African immigrants living in Gauteng Province by certain organized gangs called on South Africa to adopt an attitudinal change on the issue that over the years had tainted the country’s image.
They noted that the developments in South Africa were tantamount to the fact that South Africa is ungrateful for the tireless efforts of the many African nations which played a crucial role in the liberation of South Africa, which was among the last countries to attain independence in the continent.
The morning session which also saw delegates observe a minute of silence in honor of the victims who are have been killed in the ongoing violence, also urged the South African Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures represented in the conference to enhance concerted efforts with the Government of South Africa to get a lasting solution to the matter.
The legislators further called on the government to institute historical aspects in the South African schools’ curriculum, noting that the young people involved in the chaos were not probably oblivious of the history of where South Africa has come from, and how her historically she relates with her neighbors.
The Speaker of Uganda Rebecca Kadaga while condemning the violence, urged the affected nations to restrain their people against revenge.
She however, asked South Africa to style up on its dealings with other African countries noting that Ugandans seeking South African visas have often been mistreated at the country’s High Commission in Kampala.
Delegates from Nigeria- whose nationals have majorly been affected by the current violence decried the inhumane treatment of their nationals by South Africans.
Noting that the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has since cut short his participation in the forum and flown back to Abuja to reconvene the House to discuss the situation in Johannesburg, they warned that lack of action by South Africa could attract serious action by Abuja.
Led by the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentary Forum Zainab Gimba they urged the urged that the CPA forum passes a resolution to send a delegation to the Government of South Africa to discuss the situation.
Other legislators from Malawi, Zambia and Ghana also expressed their disappointments with the on-goings in Johannesburg and its environs.
Malawi lost 46 people in such attacks in 2016.
The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs in Ghana Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu further urged South Africa to always remember that their emancipation from apartheid was a collective act of the entire continent noting that the current situation is a threat to the integration efforts by African governments.
Responding to the concerns, the Deputy Speaker of the South African Parliament Lechesa Tsenoli and the Chairperson of the Council of Provinces (Upper House) Amos Masondo, acknowledged that the South African legislators were indeed embarrassed by the situation back home.
They both apportioned blame on organized gangs but promised that their respective legislatures were already dealing with the matter through their relevant Parliamentary Committees.
The 4-day forum which ends today is expected to make a resolution on the matter during its annual general meeting.