Malawi police detains activist Simsokwe for opposing plan to relocate refugee camp to Karonga

Malawi Police in the northern border district of  Karonga on Wednesday detained the fearless youth activist Steven Simsokwe for campaigning against the relocation of  a refugee camp from Dzaleka in Dowa to Katili in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kyungu in Karonga.

Karonga youth protests Simsokwe’s detention.-Photo by Tiwonge Kumwenda, Nyasa Times

Simsokwe: I will not be intimidated

According to the police, the development comes after Simsokwe organized a massive sensitization campaign against the relocation of the refugees to Katili.

Police  were angered to hear that Simsokwe mobilised the youths to block theUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officials from going to Katili on Wednesday.

“He organized number of the youths to block  UNHCRofficials after hearing that they were planning to go to Katili,” said our source.

Some police officers told Nyasa Times that Paramount Chief Kyungu was behind the move after seeing that Simsokwe gained the trust of the community.

“It was Kyungu who ordered the officer in charge to arrest the youth activist after seeing that he is popular and has a lot fans,” they added.

The police also accused their officer in charge for violating his power to intimidate Simsokwe as part of silencing him.

“This is because our officer in charge was part of the delegates that received huge amount of allowances to Dzaleka and their aim is to make sure that they make the UNHCR happy not the community,” they disclosed.

However, the development angered the community and some youths who planned to storm the police station to force the release of their leader.

The angry youths who carried the banner said they were ready to sacrifice their lives for their leader.

“Why is the UNHCR forcing us to accept the refugees camp? Why Karonga and the north?” Wondered the youths.

The police, however, released Simsokwe after some five hours discussions in the officer incharge’s office in fear that the community may destroy the station.

Simsokwe said he will not be intimidated and will continue to campaign against the relocation of refugees.

Meanwhile, Kyungu through his aides has accused Simsokwe for being disrespectful to the most powerful and senior chief.

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.

“Malawi is one of a few countries in Africa that has a refugee camp close to the capital city, a development that raised fear on the security of the nation. Government decided to relocate the camp to a border district where most of the refugees pass through,” she said.

Chiumia assured the people of Karonga that the process is beneficial because water points and school blocks will be constructed and Katili Health Centre rehabilitated.

UNHCR representative Monique Ekoko said 27 000 refugees will be transferred from Dzaleka to Katili.

Paramount Chief 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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Let Simsokwe and the so called Chitipa Karonga Heritage keep on dreaming and let them keep on rebuking the Paramount. They enjoy and share how bad they have said about their chiefs and they get the comfort. We have had several people from Karonga who have been in the fore front calling names of dignitaries. We used to have Hon.Kampunga, Hon. Luliro, who were good at the business of calling names up to the point of asking the President then ” uku khu kwinu?” I do not know how much they achieved through this behavior . For Simsokwe it is… Read more »

Para mwana munkhonde wazomera ivi mbwenu Unkhonde wayuyurika.


unangomva zoti ku Dowa kuli gule ndiye kukhale Refuji camp!!! KKK Fearless man


In Malawi most people do not understand issues of national interest. It is not unusual to hear Mr. Simsokwe ask why the north or Karonga? It shows the disconnect that was promoted by our founding fathers of Malawi. If we start asking why this is done there not here etc, lets be assured that progress as a nation will be minimal. Mr. Simsokwe, you have all the right to present your fears of the relocation of the refugee camp to Katili for consideration by the authority. Demonstrations will not contribute anything to your life. The project will go on.

North Kululu

TWE BA NGONDE TWAKANA! We are saying NO O O O to moving refugee camp to Karonga. We will destroy any equipment being taken to Katili for the camp. Muyiziwa Karonga a Simunati.

Chalo Mbanthu
SImfukwe is an agent of illegal human traffickers who are threatened of their business down fall if the Katiri Camp construction materialises. There is no way he can represent Karonga people alone when people of the area, chiefs, politicians and all other relevant stakeholders sees no harm. The illegal human traffickers, please just venture into a better business than funding silly boy so called Simfukwe to accomplish your desires. For Tionge Kumwenda, Times reporter, how do conclude that he has many supporters when the picture displayed is showing about 15 youths whom he cheats them with beers when he gets… Read more »



A minister akutanthauza kuti kumene kuli zipatala madzi ndi sukulu anamangako ma Refuge Camps. Anthu aku Karonga osangowapatsa ma facilities bwanja? Nthawi yonseyi amamwa madzi a UNHCR. It shows you flouted the procedures in the first place . You know where you start sharing goodies when there are new projects.Please start from there as well in constructing Refuge camp period.


KKK so that guy is fearless! Make some noise funding will come your way KKKK

Original Kyungu

That’s the way to go Steve! These people should not take us for a ride

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