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Government angers ex-exiles

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A group of Malawians who went into exile for political reasons during the one-party regime have threatened legal action against the government following its decision to compensate ex- Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP).

Some members of the returnees said during a press briefing in Mzuzu yesterday that it is unfair for the government to consider the ex-MYPs who, the group argues, were at the centre of the atrocities that they suffered and later fled to seek asylum in other countries.

Chairperson of the Northern Chapter, Charles Mwenifumbo wondered why government continues to render the group a deaf ear, 23 years after they started pushing for compensation.

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“Government has ignored us for far too long and, yet, the causes that some of our members were fighting for during those years bore the multiparty democracy that we are all enjoying today. And for government to be compensating the ex-MYPs while we are still suffering is sad and very unfair,” Mwenifumbo said.

Government is set to pay 2,760 former MYP officers about K1.6 billion.

Asked on how far they have gone in engaging government on the matter, Mwenifumbo said they have been dealing with the office of the Ombudsman but there has been no progress.

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He further accused the past leadership [of the group] of betraying the grouping by accepting political appointments, thus stopping to promote the common cause in the long run.

“There has been a lot of injustice on the matter in the last 23 years; government silenced some of our leaders by sending them to embassies and giving them ministerial positions. This is our last attempt in reorganising ourselves. We will be heading to court should government maintain its current stand”, said Mwenifumbo, who fled to Russia in the 1960s.

Taking his turn organising Secretary Samson Sichinga called on the government to respect their rights since the majority of them are suffering and have failed to resettle due to financial and psychological challenges since they returned.

He said: “It is unfortunate that the Compensation Tribunal was dissolved before some of these issues were sorted out.”

But government spokesperson, Nicholas Dausi, has asked the group to exercise patience as they pursue the matter, saying the group’s arguments are plausible.

“They have the right to be heard. Government will look into their concerns; all they have to do is to gather all the facts and ensure that they have registered their names and ordeals with relevant authorities,” Dausi said.

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