AFTER the British voted to leave the European Union last month, Kenyan lawyer and activist Wachira Maina, writing in the regional weekly The East African (Four lessons from Brexit and EU fallout for East African Community), explored the subject of the insularity of nations, among other things.
Referring to East Africa, Wachira noted: “….A majority of the [East African] population lives far from the [East African] Community’s borders.
“With the exception of Rwanda and Burundi, both small countries with large populations close to international borders, few East Africans have crossed an international border and fewer still will cross one in their life.
“At best, most East Africans are indifferent to their neighbours and, at worst, hostile to them as ‘foreigners.’
“Consider a country like Malawi in contrast: 23 of its 28 districts have an international border. This means that the average Malawian will cross an international border many times in her life.
“Thousands of Malawians live or have married from Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and even further afield from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Would Malawians vote to expel Mozambicans and Zambians from their country? Unlikely”.
Do you agree with Maina’s analysis? Is Malawi possibly the most internationally-minded African country, or most tolerant of its neighbours? COMMENT