Pressure on refugees relocation…as concerned citizens demands transparency

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…MCYC set to operationalize the exercise should govt stuck on empty rhetoric

By Iommie Chiwalo

Concerned citizens are pressing for transparency and accountability over unending story of having refugees and asylum seekers relocated to designated centers.

In a statement signed by leaders of the concerned citizens in the name of Wells Khama, Cynthia Chikalema and Esther Kubwalo, they are demanding that at all cost, government must demonstrate to be transparent in the whole
process.

The trio says while government has shown interest in implementing the long outstanding issue, it is still challenged to conduct the exercise in a transparent manner.

On this, the grouping has said that all eyes are on Homeland Security Minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma to prove that he will give different results considering that all his predecessors performed contrary to the expectations of the majority.

Government has issued a press statement indicating that it will start moving all the refugees and asylum seekers to Dzaleka Refugee Camp by the 15th of this month.

The pressure to have the exercise materialised is coming considering that all the ministers President Lazarus Chakwera
appointed to serve in the Homeland Security have made similar directives which have so far never yielded any result.

“It is for this reason that we the concerned citizens have received the news this time around with a pinch of salt, in fact all the eyes are on you Honourable Ken Zikhale-Ng’oma as to whether you are someone that can be trusted or not,” reads the statement from the concerned citizens.

Adding that, in the interest of transparency and accountability, Malawians would like to know how much government will spend to relocate the refugees in a likely event that most of them will not
move to the designated centers freely before the set dateline.

The grouping has since commended the Inspector
General (IG) of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) Merlyn Yolamu for arresting the suspects connected to the mysterious death of Lilongwe-based businessman, a Malawian citizen of Rwandan origin, Emmilie Habimana Noel, 31, who allegedly died in a road accident in Lilongwe along the M1 road around the Kanengo Northgate area on October 17, 2022.

“However, we are still following the case with very keen interest, until it reaches a logical conclusion,”.

In related development, Mzuzu City Youth Caucus has expressed disappointment with government’s new ultimatum on relocation of refugees and asylum seekers saying the approach by the State authorities, as observed previously, will not yield anything.

The caucus Chairperson, Gomezgani Nkhoma, laments that while the funds for the relocation exercise were allocated to have it implemented from February 2, 2023, there has been no any update from the State machinery let alone hearing or seeing anything tangible on the ground.

Nkhoma, has therefore, said government’s fresh ultimatum is not only time wasting but also shameful because by now the exercise would have been near completion.

He says Malawians feel betrayed by their own government, perhaps the allegations that some public officials received kickbacks to derail this important exercise are true.

“Now that we have lost trust in our government, Mzuzu City Youth Caucus has set Monday the April 10, 2023 as a day on which it will mobilise Malawians to relocate refugees and asylum seekers to their designated centers,” says Nkhoma.

He has also said that his organisation will not allow government’s negligence, incompetence and unpreparedness deprive Malawians the opportunity to triumph economically and socially.

But in an interview with Homeland Security Minister Ken Zikhale Ng’oma said what is contained in the statement from his ministry is what will happen come the said date saying concerned citizens better wait “until we cross the bridge,”

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