Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Karonga Diocese in the Catholic Church has added his voice in the controversial relocation of a refugee camp from Dzaleka in Dowa to Katili in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu in Karonga, saying government should give land and construct houses for Malawians who are displaced because of disasters than wasting time and resources on the relocation of a refugee camp.
According to Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia, the decision to relocate the refugee camp follows a concern by government that the camp at Dzaleka was near Lilongwe, the capital city, a development that compromises the country’s security.
Government want to start the project next month and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative Monique Ekoko said 27 000 refugees will be transferred from Dzaleka to Katili.
But Bishop Mtumbuka argued that there are number of families lacking houses and land after being displaced by disasters or torched their houses due to wrangles on chieftnacy or land disputes in the northern border district.
He said these people deserve to be helped first before the refugees.
“I wonder why people, government or chiefs are busy with giving land or building houses for the refugees while their own brothers and sisters have nowhere to sleep,” said Mtumbuka.
Mtumbuka gave an example of some families from Chakwera village in Kaporo and Mpata in Karonga who have nowhere to sleep because of land issues.
“These people are wondering where their government, council, chiefs or CSOs to bail them is. They feel neglected and cheated,” he added.
Mtumbuka said he appreciates the plight of refugees but local people should not suffer at the expense of those who have been granted asylum.
Member of Parliament for the area Frank Mwenifumbo also said the distribution of the land to government by the chiefs was illegal.
Katili lies north west of Karonga, about 15 kilometres away from the boma.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :