Concerned residents of Karonga say they will take to the streets over government’s decision to relocate Dzaleka refugee camp to Katiri in Karonga.
Speaking at a meeting that was held in the district on Tuesday, a representative of the concerned group George Mwenerongo said people of Karonga are against the decision.
He said government did not consult widely from the residents, to hear their views, thus the decision remains unwanted to the people of Karonga.
“How could the whole government decide so low? Is Karonga too big for that? In Karonga we are already many and adding a refugee camp will worsen things, thus we don’t want that,” said Mwenerondo.
He further hinted that should government proceed with the decision, people of Karonga will mobilize themselves and demonstrate against the same. “We will even hold a vigil at the council’s office.
This a is very unwelcome decision to us the citizens of Karonga,” he added.
Malawi24 understands that Karonga is now home to about 269,000 people, with 80 people per square kilometre. Nevertheless, government is intending to transfer about 29,000 refugees from Dzaleka camp.
Recently, legislator for Karonga Central, Frank Mwenefumbo, also expressed dismay at the decision. He said, apart from imposing pressure on social services, the decision also posses a great security threat to people of Karonga.
“This is a very unthoughtful decision. In Karonga we don’t want trouble. We don’t want to have security crisis because of one government decision. We totally express veto to that,” he said.
On her part, minister of home affairs Grace Chiumia said government will reflect on the concerns before coming up with another decision. She said the present government of Peter Mutharika is for people and shall alway consider constructive views from the citizenry.
“We already held some talks with some people from there and they voiced out their views. As government, we will reflect on that and see the way forward,” she said.