John Jacob Kazawala Chunda, a survivor of the March, 1959 massacre that saw over fifty one Malawians shot dead by British forces in Nkhata Bay, has written the British government demanding a €100 million (about K65 billion) compensation for the atrocities the colonial master inflicted on them.
Chunda, who said he intends to share the money with thirty three other families that were equally affected by the massacre, delivered his letter of complaint to the British High Commission offices in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.
According to Chunda, the letter has been addressed to the British government “through the British High Commissioner to Malawi Michael Nevin.”
Nevin is yet to respond to the request but he told local press about nine days ago that the “issue of compensation does not arise.”
A legal expert, Ralph Mhone, had asked the Malawi government to ask for compensation from the UK on behalf of thousands of Malawians who were killed and tortured during the anti-colonial uprising in the late 1950s.
“We’re saddened by any loss. [But] we have not had any discussion with the government of Malawi on this matter and do not consider the issue of compensation arises,” Nevin had told Nation on Sunday.
But Chunda insisted that, just like in Kenya where Britain compensated those that were tortured in the Mau Mau uprising, they were entitled to something.
“It was a horrendous experience,” he said. “The massacre aborted our dreams, hopes and aspirations. It will only be fair if we are compensated.”
Malawi sets aside the 3rd of March every year to commemorate Freedom Day in memory of the fallen fighters.
During this year’s commemoration Mhone, also Nkhata Bay Central parliamentarian said “the mere fact that they were innocently killed warrants compensation from those responsible.”