Karonga residents petition Malawi Parliament over plans to relocate refugee camp

Karonga residents through Karonga-Chitipa Cultural Heritage on Thursday marched to Parliament Building in the capital Lilongwe  to present a petition  that condemned  government’s plans  to  relocate a refugee camp from Dzaleka in Dowa to Katili in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu in Karonga.

The Karonga residents present the petition at parlaiment

The Karonga residents display placards on march to parliament

The Karonga residents display placards on march to parliament

The Karonga residents display placards on march to parliament

The petition has been signed by traditional leaders, Karonga elected leaders, some district Nongovernmental organizations among others.

According to Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia said 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.

But petitioners argue that Katili is the only upland area initially meant for relocation of Malawians displaced by natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.

“The refugee camp will disposes the locals of their land that is already allocated in preference to transferring a refugee camp which is already very well established in Dowa,” reads the petition.

The petition was read at parliament by Karonga –Chitipa Heritage vice chairperson Sophie Kalinde and was received by Olipa Myaba Chiluba MP, the chairperson for home affairs and security Parliamentary committee.

In the petition, the Karonga residents asked government to repatriate all refugees or let them stay at Dzaleka.

“There is already a commotion at Dzaleka refugee camp between the refugees themselves especially by the Hutus and Tusis. We therefore don’t want such issues happen in our district. We have been leaving peacefully and we don’t want anyone to disturb us,” reads part of the petition.

They wonder why government continue keeping the refugees who have stayed in the country for more than 20 years despite peace and stability returning in their countries.

The petition said dangling the carrot by various stakeholders for development to the people of Katili and Karonga for their acceptance of the refugee camp is “a direct violation of the right to dignity and development.”

Speaking after receiving the petition, Chiluba commended the petitioners for peaceful march to Parliament.

Only Paramount Chief Kyungu and some Democratic Progressive Party members are in support to relocate refugees to Karonga

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative Monique Ekoko said 27 000 refugees will be transferred from Dzaleka to Katili.

Kyungu asked UNHCR to ensure that communities in Karonga are given job opportunities during the construction of the refugee camp.

Katili lies north west of Karonga, about 15 kilometres away from the boma.

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11 thoughts on “Karonga residents petition Malawi Parliament over plans to relocate refugee camp”

  1. MANYI says:

    IS A REFUGEE CAMP
    A DEVELOPMENT PEOPLE
    WANT ??

    PLIZ GIVE PEOPLE A TANGIBLE DEVELOPMENT
    WORTHY POINTING A FINGER AT

    REFUGEES ARE NOT DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS

    AS SOMEBODY SANG A SONG WAKWATIWA NDI
    WOTHAWA NKHONDO KUPUPULUMA !

    CHONDE MUSALORE GUYS

    CHIKANGAWA AKUDYERANI

    KAYELEKERA AKUBERANI

    KAXIWIZIWI AKUBERANI

    MNCHENGA COAL MINE
    AKUBERANI

    NYANJA AKUBERANI

    KODI KUMPOTOKO MUNAKHALA BWANJI NDI
    MADALA KYUNGUWO ??

    UTCHONA ETI ???

  2. njalayamalamchiuno says:

    So it has taken the Government that long to realise that the location at Dzaleka presents a security risk! No, don’t transfer a problem as if Karonga is a dumping ground. We in Karonga cannot be enticed by temporary jobs that this move will bring and live to regret the insecurity and other social ills thereafter. Bring development to Karonga not refugees.

  3. Yahya says:

    My dear people of Malawi: there refugees all the world with various causes of making one to be a refugee. There are reasons which may even happen tomorrow to us “GOD FORBID” Lets not refer these human beings as Cockroaches or calling them all sorts of names. There are even Malawians refugees around the globe scattered and are been taken care of without them being called names. Governments around the globe have these reservations of keeping refugees despite of the state of the political stability to the originality of the refugees. Puling or pushing power for someone to becoming a refugees isn’t just political, there are economical or even traditional to mention some. There are Malawians who qualify to be handled the refugee status even across the neighboring countries. Lets handle their matter with dignity as they remain in this only warm heart of Africa.

    Furthermore, there are motions world wide of which we should be surprised to see in the future refugees being integrated in our streets and societies that they become useful and part of us to learn and copy our way of living. Confining refugees in camps mostly fuels their hatred and gives room for the devil actions among themselves and the neighboring societies. Keeping them within us will make them learn our way of life and having their hearts cool down to our level, hence, the warm heart of Africa being within them! Aren’t we not achieved here? Lets be dynamic despite atmosphere.

  4. Kwakwawe says:

    Would someone out there remind the disgruntled and desperate people of Karonga that the relocation is not based on the pretext of f punishing the Mwangondos, Mwakisulus, Mwakikungas etc etc non no no no….. In fact it is based on the fact of protecting our national inside lands including our capital city-LILONGWE- where all educated people from all corners of the country including Ngondes from Karonga leave. Its (Karonga) geographical location make it the only suitable place for the project.

    In fact people of Dowa would have loved to continue staying with them to eternity due to their sold bond they have build for the past twenty years. My advice is that people of Karonga should not behave like idiots after being ill-advised by pot-belied despots just because they want to gain political mileage.

  5. undule says:

    Take them to mpumulo wa bata in thyolo district not here…we’re living a peacefully lives here we don’t need them..kutisuzga yayi

  6. mtete says:

    But Kyungu, in whose area the camp will be, has already accepted. He is asking government to ensure his people get employment during camp construction. So, who are these Karonga-Chitipa Heritage people to go against the Paramount Chief?

  7. chibokoto says:

    We don’t want these cockroaches in our peaceful loving land of Karonga,repatriate them else recreate other places not here.They have dominated our businesses in cities as well as in our locations.They are at a fast speed taking over our land ,go to Nchesi Lilongwe,they are everywhere turning the land of there own sovereignty.The government is treating these people with appeasement attitude.These Rwandas,Burundi’s and Nigerians are now having secret love affairs with our daughters,wives,girl friends…Karonga is a Bengazi district prevent them coming our way!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. bristone mabichi says:

    Thanks people of Karonga and Chitipa for telling the government the truth. Bringing refugees is not development agenda but an insult to the district and the region. Why are we still keeping refugees anyway? UNHCR should repatriate these refugees or find them homes in other countries as is the case in Zimbabwe. Komatu mwina wina akusosola nawo a UNHCR. Katili, ayi. Funani kwina mai Chinumia. Zikomo

  9. ngalamayi says:

    The government just wants to move a nuisance from its own back yard to a distant place without consulting those people concerned or investigating what a nest of hornets the refugee camp is already. Keep up your fight, residents of Karonga! You shouldn’t be taken for granted by your own government and paramount chief.

  10. Twebakiki ku Chazale says:

    There are no wars in Burundi,Rwanda, DRC. They need to go back to their countries. They will just disturb the living patterns of the locals in katiri and other parts of Karonga. They want these people just because a few benefit from the funding they get from UNHCR. Leave our Karonga alone. You have failed to bring a tangible development in Karonga and yet you want to burden us with strangers roaming our district with history of crime from their countries. Twakana twebina Karonga.

  11. Mwina Karonga says:

    Well done bina Karonga. It is our birthright to say no to things that would affect us negatively. Government needs to see that and stop in it’s tracks. KARONGA has spoken. Do we have to do another demonstration within the district to see how much Karonga does not want the Refugee relocation?

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