Malawi govt leaves it to private lawyers to seek Britain compensation for war vets

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development,  Goodall Gondwe,  has said Malawi government will not press for compensation from its former colonial master the Britain to thousands of Malawians who were tortured during an anti-colonial uprising late 1950s as demanded by some sections of the society.

Mhone: Pursuing the matter

Mhone: Pursuing the matter

Gondwe made the statement Thursday after he presided over the commemoration of Martyrs Day in Nkhata Bay.

March 3 is commemorated every year as a national holiday in Malawi, honouring the political heroes who gave up their lives in the struggle for independence from British colonialism.

It was on this day when the British declared a state-of-emergency and arrested prominent Malawian Nationalists and other dissidents. Fury over the arrest of these resistance leaders precipitated into the death of 31 demonstrators in Nkhata Bay district, 51 in the country and detention of over 1, 300.

About two years ago, the people of Nkhata Bay  through Ralph Mhone the legislator for Nkhata-bay Central constituency and also a law expert asked the government of Malawi to press  Britain to compensate families of individuals who were killed by the British forces on 3rd March, 1959 during the state-of emergency.

“It’s high time Malawi should seek compensation from Britain because out martyrs died because they were fighting for freedom which we enjoy today. They were not criminals,” Mhone said.

Mhone said Malawi is likely to get the compensation as was the case in Kenya where Britain has compensated thousands of people whose families were killed during the British orchestrated killings in the 1950s.

As many as 90,000 Kenyans were killed or tortured and 160,000 more were forced into concentration camps during eight years of Mau Mau mayhem and bloodshed during the 1950s.

Britain announced an out-of-court settlement of about $30.5m which was split between 5,200 victims, leaving about $4,100 per claimant in a country where the average person earns just $821 a year.

But Gondwe said in Kenya the case of Mau Mau was pursued by private lawyers.

“Ralph Mhone, because he started pursuing the issue, can just team up with other lawyers [to continue with it] but not [Malawi] government pursuing the issue of compensation,” said Gondwe, adding government was ready only to assist if the aggrieved parties want assistance.

In his remarks on the compensation issue, Mhone disclosed that he has already started working on it.

“Currently, I’m doing investigations on the issue and we have already contacted our friends from Kenya who assisted the MauMau warriors and they are ready to help,” he said.

However, Mhone said he needs to visit the archives office in the country’s old capital, Zomba, to look for the correspondences between the colonial administrators and the London officials.

“We want to find out who authorized the soldiers from South Africa and Rhodesia to come to Malawi and massacre our beloved people?” said the Nkhata Bay Central legislator.

Making a landmark apology before Britain’s parliament, Foreign Secretary William Hague expressed regret over “abhorrent violations of human dignity” that took place more than half a century ago.

Malawi’s former President Bingu wa Mutharika once asked the country’s law experts to investigate whether Britain compensated Malawi soldiers who fought in the two world wars. –Additional reporting by Aliko Munde, Mana

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12 thoughts on “Malawi govt leaves it to private lawyers to seek Britain compensation for war vets”

  1. george says:

    cashgate yagona koma ku malawi

  2. huston says:

    mbwenumbwenu Winston msowoya

    Have you read the article or your hatred for this government is just too much that you think everything written here is sanctioned by government. According to this article it is your fellow mbwenumbwenus who are fighting foer compensation and NOT government. Infact government has refused to take part in this fight and has left it to your mbwenumbwenu lawyers to fight on their own. WAMVA tsopano???? It is stupid idiots like you who derail progress in this country because of your stupid and blind hatred for people who are not from your tribe.

  3. Trendex says:

    Is this part of economic cracking down?

  4. Hey says:

    Next time MCP should be sued for making thousands of Malawians destitute. By the way, #3, Winston Msowoya, you have misunderstood the stance by government. Government says this is a private issue that can be pursued by private lawyers so it’s not government that has an interest in pursuing this issue. May be your understanding is different depending on the type of corridors you went through to attain your “edukweshion”

  5. M. G. Jangaza says:

    And the kind of compensation should not be in a form of cash, but rather something visual that even up coming generation should be able to notice.

  6. Fkr says:

    Its really a joke reading this article and then reading the next article on Nyasatimes where britian donates another MK5BILLION in food aid. Until the recent cash gate scandal where billions of Kwacha were stolen from the countries coffers by politicians, Britain and others, supported the majority of the national budget and had been doing so for decades. The built most of the infrastructure you see today, damns, power stations and power networks, roads, buildings, farms and plantations. If it were not for Britain there would be no Malawi. Think of the history of this country and how it came to be. Malawi however, was NEVER A BRITISH COLONY. It was a protectorate. Yes to remove the British protectorate there was an uprising and people had to fight for what they wanted. I would assume that there was a thing called Law and Order in those days and when people started burning buildings, rioting etc. the law had to protect the innocent and people got hurt and dead in order to keep the law. Those people who died during their acts are now called Martyrs. Looking back at where we were and where we are now, did we achieve any progress or are a few people sitting at the top rich and the rest of the nation poor. What is freedom? Did the Martyrs really achieve anything?

  7. Patrick says:

    If this is the case then MCP should also be asked to compensate to the families of people that they killed for more than a decade.

  8. Chambe says:

    @Winston Msowoya
    You seem not to have understood the story or you have just commented without reading it thoroughly. It’s about the massacre of people by the colonial British government. This could not be settled by aid Britain has been giving to Malawi government. It is a private matter between lawyers against the British government

  9. kaDausi says:

    Why did you decide to spell Wakutumbikika Wadada Gondwe’s name as G9ondwe. Mwayamba chiponge wana inu!

  10. Winston Msowoya says:

    Did you ask compensation from the Banda regime for all those brutal massacres and massive imprisonment without trial?To be fair,Britain has helped Malawi massively wether financially or politically.What has now prompted the government of Malawi to revive the old wounds? Can you pay back what the British has done to you? Please don’t throw your failures to others,you must be ashamed,you have foolishly failed to run the country you must accept responsibility for that you morons.

  11. Dr Haswel P . Bandawe says:

    The British together with other colonisers have a lot to not only apologise for but also compensate. If the German Government compensated Israel for the killing and torture of Jews, what more for the horror of colonial cruelty, the theft of raw materials and artifacts, the forced labor and the murders of innocent people.

    The souls of those who lost their lives at the hands of the colonisers will not rest in peace until justice is done.

    I shudder to imagine the type of people the British, the Portuguese, the French, the Italians, the Spanish and the Germans are. They were not content to live in peace with the people who welcomed them to Africa. Instead, they grabbed everything and murdered people!!!

  12. BOKHO says:

    Go ahead Mhone

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