A grouping of people who suffered atrocities and injustice during the one party regime under Malawi Congress Party (MCP) have threatened to camp at the Office of the President and Cabinet at Capital Hill if government fails to compensate them.
The group represents people who suffered detention without trial and who experienced inhumane and degrading treatment in prisons, unfair termination of employment and loss of property or life between 1964 and 1994.
Speaking at a press briefing which was conducted on Wednesday in Lilongwe, Chairperson of the grouping Sangwani Mkandawire said that recent regimes including the Tonse Alliance government have been playing double standards on issues of the victims’ compensation.
He said the National Compensation Tribunal created by Section 137 of the 1994 Constitution directed that the victims should be compensated but only politically connected individuals were compensated and they only received interim payments ranging from K10,000 to K20,000 hence are awaiting full compensation.
Mkandawire added that they have been seeking assistance from different authorities such as office of the Ombudsman and Parliament where they presented several petitions.
“We have suffered for long time; we have been patient for too long. We want to be treated as Malawians not as nothing, otherwise we will do something that will not be friendly, we have equally contributed to development of this country, we are not begging but we are demanding.
“We don’t have a place to stay, we are living in dirty houses, we don’t have land to cultivate our crops because our places were occupied when we were in exile. We once presented our issues to Minister of Foreign Affairs Eisenhower Mkaka who told us openly that we should wait for Jesus to come. We fought for this country’s democracy, some of our colleagues died and shed blood fighting for this country,” he explained.
Mkandawire further said that they have heard statements by the President and Cabinet ministers that the government is planning to establish a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission to facilitate National reconciliation and healing.
He said erecting monuments is a good idea but government should compensate people first.
“We are saying that this talk of a policy is simply an attempt by the government to deny victims their right to compensate”, he explained.