People who fled the country and those who were detained for various political reasons during the 31-year Malawi Congress Party (MCP) single-party rule have asked government to stop compensating ex-Malawi Young Pioneers (MYPs).
The returnees and political detainees argue that paying the ex-MYPs is promoting impunity.
Under the banner of Malawi Returnees and Political Detainees, they wonder why they are not being compensated because they were victims of atrocities carried out by the former regime.
Speaking at a media briefing in Mzuzu yesterday, Malawi Returnees and Political Detainees (Karonga Chapter) chairperson Charles Mwenifumbo said it was unfortunate that government rendered a deaf ear to their plight, but was busy looking at the welfare of “oppressors”.
“It is unfortunate that the disbanded notorious MYPs, who were responsible for our plight in terms of killings, torture, grabbing people’s property and all sorts of evil committed on Malawians are being given priority for compensation and benefits,” he said.
Organising secretary of the Chapter, Chaccobbins Mfula, said they remain uncompensated because of the betrayal by the people they trusted.
According to Mfula, most of the returnees and detainees were only given interim financial relief between 1996 and 1997, which ranged from K5 000 to K25 000.
“After this amount, we were supposed to be paid compensation by government. It is unfortunate that government at that time decided to compensate our leaders and left out thousands of us,” he said.
Ombudsman Martha Mwangonde coud not be reached for comment, but government spokesperson Nicholas Dausi said Capital Hill is closely following the debate on the returnees and MYPs.
“We are keenly following the debate, but I need to consult first before making known government’s stance on this matter,” he said.
Recently, governance and human rights campaigner Undule Mwakasungula asked the opposition MCP to pay off former MYP members instead of leaving the burden to government.
Said Mwakasungula: “The ex-MYPs should seek the benefits from those who employed them to torture Malawians. If they are to be paid, its taxpayers covering and that includes taxes from the victims… so it will be victims paying their perpetrators.”
But MCP deputy secretary general Eisenhower Mkaka rubbished the assertion, saying MYP was governed by an Act of Parliament as such it was a government entity.
The issue of ex-MYPs compensations started more than 20 years ago when they threatened to sue government for unlawful dismissal from the civil service during the 1994 Operation Bwenzani.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development is currently verifying personal details of the ex-MYPs.