A Malawi legal expert Ralph Mhone has asked Malawi government press for compensation from its former colonial master the Britain to thousands of Malawians who were tortured during an anti-colonial uprising late 1950s.
Mhone who is also the legislator for Nkhata-bay Central constituency said this to Malawians who gathered for the commemoration of Martyrs’ Day in northern district of Nkhata-bay whose them was God is Our Light and Salvation.
During the ceremony where President Peter Mutharika was represented by Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, Mhone said Malawi is likely to win the case because even Britons themselves know that Malawians were not rebels but unarmed freedom fighters who were fighting the highly armed colonial forces.
“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,” he 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.
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.