Britain has said the issue of compensation families of people who died during the March 3, 1959 struggle for this country’s independence does not arise, the United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin, has said.
Nevin comments comes after a Malawi legal expert Ralph Mhone has asked Malawi government press for compensation from UK, its former colonial master, to thousands of Malawians who were tortured during an anti-colonial uprising late 1950s.
Mhone, who is also the Peoples Party (PP) legislator for Nkhata-bay Central constituency, said Malawi is likely to get the compensation as was the case in Kenya where Britain compensates the families of the fallen Malawians the way it did with Kenyan victims of torture during the Mau Mau uprisings in the 1950s.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president and leader of opposition in Parliament Lazarus Chakwera also said during this year’s Martyrs’ Day on Tuesday, that they will take it upon themselves to ensure that Britain give the compensation.
But Nevin has dismissed compensation claims , saying though his government is saddened by the loss of life during the struggle, the issue of compensation does not arise as London has not held any discussion with Lilongwe on the matter.
“We are saddened by any loss of life. [But] we have had no discussion with the government of Malawi on this matter and do not consider the issues of compensation arise,” said Nevin as quoted in the Nation on Sunday.
Some chiefs and members of the bereaved families in Nkhata Bay are calling on London to compensate families for the killing of 31 locals at Nkhata Bay Jetty on March 3 1959 by federal forces.
“UK and Malawi enjoy a close and deep relationship that stretches back over many years and we look forward to that relationship continuing in the years ahead,” Nevin is quoted as saying.
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.