Parliamentarian Ralph Mhone, a lawyer by profession, has said he is launching a legal action against Britain to compensate families of people who died during the March 3, 1959 struggle for this country’s independence.
Mhone has disclosed that British barrister, Chris Esdaile, has offered to assist in the legal action in London courts.
Esdaile who successfully represented 5 000 elderly Kenyans against Britain for the torture and abuse suffered during the Mau Mau uprising in 1950s is expected to be in Malawi next month to get finer details of the matter, Mhone said.
Mhone had asked Malawi government press for compensation from UK, its former colonial master, to thousands of Malawians who were tortured during an anti-colonial uprising late 1950s.
The People’s Party (PP) legislator for Nkhata-bay Central constituency said Malawi is likely to get the compensation as was the case in Kenya.
He said in the legal challenge, they may include Malawians who died in other districts during the same struggle, calling it “a typical human rights issue.”
Said Mhone: “It was London which sanctioned the State of Emergency that led to the massacre of these unarmed Malawians and today they cannot deny that and say it was the federation.”
But Mhone is appealing for financial support from well-wishers to help lodge the case in the high court in London which he noted is expensive.
United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin, has has dismissed compensation claims , saying though his government is saddened by the loss of life during the struggle, the issue of compensation does not arise as London has not held any discussion with Lilongwe on the matter.