Government, through the Office of the Secretary to Treasury, has bowed down to the court order and compensated 10 families who lost their relatives during the July 20, 2011 nation- wide demonstrations.
Secretary to the Treasury, Dr Ronald Mangani, to appear before it on Wednesday, August 24, to clarify on the matter.
However, before the hearing was about to start on Wednesday morning, the Office of the Secretary to the Treasury had already brought the cheques totalling the said amount.
Speaking to journalists outside the court after presenting the cheques, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affair’s Senior State Advocate, Apoche Itimu, saluted the move, saying it has demonstrated government’s responsibility.
“The [bereaved] families filed a motion for committal against the Secretary to the Treasury, but finally the matter is resolved and is now closed.
“As government, this means that we have demonstrated our responsibility under the case that was brought before the court, and for the families, it means that they have been compensated,” she said.
Itimu, however, defended the delay in the payment of the compensation, describing it as normal since the money comes from the public coffers.
She added that as an office of the Secretary to the Treasury of the Accountant General, any payment is made basing on the competing interests of the public pulse.
“You have to understand that the money is coming from the public pulse which has competing interests. Hunger is looming and it is the same money that is supposed to buy maize as well as drugs in hospitals,” she explained.
Meanwhile, lawyer representing the 10 families, Leonard Mbulo, described the gesture as a relief to the families following the loss of their loved ones.
He added that though the families would have hoped for an amount bigger than the one paid, government’s action on the matter has given the bereaved families something to start from.
In a separate interview, Juma Umali, representing Aaron Juma who was among those who died during the demonstration on July 20, 2011, concurred with Mbulo, saying though the amount may not seem enough to them, it has showed government’s commitment in compensating them.
During the July 20, 2011 nation-wide demonstrations, 19 people died in Mzuzu as police tried to quell the demonstration which also culminated into looting of several shops by some individuals.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :