Bishop Mtumbuka weighs in on relocation of refugees in Karonga: ‘Help displaced Malawians first’

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.

Bishop Mtumbuka :Help Malawians first

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.

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Who allowed the refugees to move from Karonga to Dzaleka? The point of entry is Kalonga and they should be kept there and be processed there. Tanzania is a peaceful country, why did they not settle there? The answer is that most of the refugees were trying to reach Jobeki. Now it is much easier to repatriate the refugees from Karonga than Dowa and after all people of Karonga were helping them to get south of Malawi. Now pano azibiba pafupi nanu ndiye mumva kuwawa. As for a Bishopu “Muluzi already said in the past that his hat is suitable… Read more »

The bishop is well-known to be working day and night against government. This is one example of his actions. His fellow bishops do not tow his line, otherwise we should have heard that the Catholic church had agreed to bring down government. His poor decision even forced the Holy See to create a small diocese for the troublesome bishop. He should have been Bishop of Mzuzu as it were. By the way do not hide behind church just retire from priesthood and join politics like Dr Chakwera. we want your philosophy in parliament as quickly as possible.


Well done Bishop, we need people like you. I wonder why Grace and her people want to move refugees who are not troubling anyone from Dowa to Karonga. Villages surrounding the camp rely on the refugees in many ways. Leave the camp alone and give people of Karonga the land. This government has no welfare of people are heart. Build school blocks, provide enough resources in government hospital that spending on this unimportant and exaggerated project.

Chief Mpango

Bishop you are out of bible follow J. O . Y. J means Jesus first, O,means others second and Y means yours last. kudzikonda bwanji be example. nonsense

bristone mabichi

It is loud and clear. We of Karonga are saying NO. No no no! The paramount is working with government of today and his hands are tied and I speak for him: He says No to refugee camp at Katili. Where will Lwasho, Kilindi, Vokolani go if the green belt materializes? The only place for these lake side villages is Katili. You want them to be refugees in their own land. Find a place somewhere or keep them at Dzaleka till they are dispatched.

Rift Valley

Ndinali mlendo koma simunandipatse malo ogona. That said, however, does it have to be Karonga?

Tru Malawian

Relocate it to Thyolo. Period

Mwamba Mwanila
I wonder why the government said the camp is causing a harm for the national security because it is located near the capital city. Those refugees stayed in Dzaleka for many years but I have never heard any incident of insecurity they made for Malawi. If they have weapons, did the army fail to catch them? Are refugees criminals? Is the government going to ban all foreigners to live in our countryStop causing troubles to Africans! The government is teaching its to hate foreigners by its explanation of that relocation of the refugees camp. My brothers and sisters Malawians, are… Read more »
Vincent Wandale

The refugees should be relocated to either Thyolo or Mulanje then we will have peace


Bishop Mtumbuka for once please please have brains. Theses two issues are not the same. While I don’t support the Kaitlin project I also don’t think govt should help those burning each other’s houses.

Swiswiri Mbewa

Indeed charity begins at home. Kyungu is too blind to see the plight of displaced Malawians within Karonga district. He is crying more than the bereaved!

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