The country’s civil rights group, Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has condemned President Lazarus Chakwera’s Tonse Alliance government for victimising refugees and asylums seekers in a sweeping exercise launched on Wednesday, May 17, 2023 in the capital Lilongwe.
The grouping is also planning for vigil at Attorney General (AG) Office Chakaka Thabo Nyirenda, capital hill in Lilongwe on Monday, May 22, 2023 seeking clarification on proof of recovery of the MK750 million that was meant for the 2022/2023 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
Addressing the news conference on Thursday, May 18, in Lilongwe, CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa demanded Chakwera government to handle two issues with urgency.
“As Malawians may recall, Lilongwe District Commissioner Dr. Lawford Palani responded to our notice to hold vigils at the offices of the Attorney General (AG) until AG Thabo Chakaka-Nyirenda provides proof of recovery of the MK750 million that was meant for the 2022/2023 Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) feared to have been lost by promising to engage us with the AG.
“As a law-abiding institution, the Centre for Democracy and Development Initiatives (CDEDI) put on hold the vigils in order to give the promised dialogue a chance and, through the Lilongwe DC, on May 10 2023 we gave the AG seven days to set up the meeting with us,” says Namiwa.
He added, “Since the seven days have elapsed with the meeting neither being held, nor CDEDI hearing from either the presumed mediator or the office of the AG, we hereby inform the general public that we have no choice but to proceed with the vigils as earlier planned.
“So, the vigils are on at the entrance of the AG’s office at Capital Hill starting from Monday May 22 2023, from 7am to 12 Noon, until the AG produces evidence of full recovery of the MK750 million, and culprits are brought to book”.
Namiwa says, “As the law demands, CDEDI has, once again, dutifully notified the Lilongwe. District Council of the same. In the meantime, while joining those that have already condemned the Minister of Homeland Security Ken Zikhale-Ngoma for gross violations of basic human rights for refugees and asylum seekers by bundling them and heaping them at Maula Prison without food and proper beddings.
“CDEDI hereby calls on government to halt the exercise which is running contrary to Ubunthu believe. It is strange that the Malawi Government sees nothing wrong in victimising fellow Africans”.
He adds further, “CDEDI, therefore, reiterates its stand that besides this exercise lacking merit, there are a several contentious issues that need to be addressed at Dzaleka Refugee Camp and, over and above everything, recamping the refugees is not a priority given the myriad challenges Malawians are facing.
“In fact, as predicted in our April 14, 2023 statement, this decision is slowly backfiring. Business has already come to a stand-still and low income consumers are now subjected to exorbitant prices of basic needs thereby pushing millions into untold misery”.
“It is even strange that the same government that is failing to feed inmates in our correctional facilities is forcing people that were feeding themselves and, also, created jobs elsewhere, to depend on the same government at the congested Dzaleka Camp.
“Most importantly, government should explain to Malawians how it intends to cushion the sudden price hike of basics following the closure of shops and other businesses operated by some of these refugees being recamped”.
Chakwera Tonse Alliance government is yet to comment on the two issues.