Renowned Malawian author and historian Desmond Dudwa Phiri (D.D Phiri) has said Levi Zeleza Manda’s commentary titled ‘Which D.D. Phiri?’ that appeared in Weekend Nation of April 4 2015 borders on “defamation” and “malice”.
In the commentary, Manda stated that D.D. Phiri claim to an expert in too many fields and that his views on compensation for the 1959 Nkhata Bay massacre were influenced by a bribe from the British.
“If Manda has evidence that I was in touch with British authorities either before or after my article was published, he should tell the public names of those I was dealing with,” Phiri challenges in his D.D. Phiri Column titled ‘Response to Levi Zeleza Manda’.
The historian concedes to have written on variety of topics which suggest that “I am knowledgeable in a variety of fields”.
“Is it possible for one person to write articles on a variety subjects? Is it possible for one doctor to treat patients suffering from a variety of illnesses such as malaria, wounds, coughs or leprosy? To both questions, I say yes, provided his or her education and training have prepared him or her for all these diseases.
“I am an economist because I hold a University of London degree titled Bsc (Economics). The degree programme was divided into two parts,” claims Phiri in a column which appears in Weekend Nation’s sister paper, The Nation.
Part one of the degree programme, according to him, a student had to take six compulsory subjects; principles of economics, applied economics, economics history, political history, government (political science) and history of political ideas (philosophy).
“The student also had to take two optional subjects. I chose sociology which included psychology and English law.
“It is this background that enables me to write articles on a variety of topics. The same background has enabled me to write 20 books on a variety of themes, fiction and non-fiction,” says Phiri.
The gist of Phiri’s article from which Manda quoted was that government should not assume responsibility of demanding compensation for the Nkhata Bay massacre because during the past 50 years, the British government has given Malawi “millions if not billions of pounds in aid”.
“This, to me, is compensation enough. For the Malawi government to demand further compensation would be ingratitude. I am not opposed to relatives of the victims hiring a lawyer and approaching the British authorities privately,” says Phiri.
He says government should just concentrate on development which will benefit the nation.
“The rest of what Manda says shows he confuses matters. People of Nkhata Bay were shot by white soldiers from Southern Rhodesia which has been self-governing since 1923. These whites were not taking orders from Britain.
“In quoting the case of charles Taylor, Manda shows ignorance of the law. The International Criminal Court (ICC) arrested an individual for committing a crime.
“The ICC did not demand compensation from the Liberian government on behalf of the victims,” challenges Phiri.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :