Former Malawi Young Pioneer (MYP) employees have appealed to President Joyce Banda to end their stand-off with Treasury on payment of their terminal benefits and compensation for sudden loss of jobs in 1991.
The Malawi Army disarmed MYP—a paramilitary wing which started as an agricultural development arm of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) rule in 1963—during a countrywide raid code-named Operation Bwenzani in December 1993.
Having waited for slightly over 20 years to get their benefits and consolation for premature termination of service, the ex-MYP workforce was summoned by the Ministry of Finance to receive their dues early last month.
But about 2 700 of them who turned up in the Northern Region turned down the payout saying it is a mockery for the highest paid to get K5 000 (US$)12 after the long wait.
On March 27, another group marched to the Capital Hill in Lilongwe to show their displeasure at the way government is treating them.
Speaking to Weekend Nation in an exclusive interview, Northern Region coordinator for the ex-MYPs, Godfrey Salamula said: “We rebuffed the gratuity because we feel it is an illegal payment.
“We will not accept it because it appears government has forgotten we are Malawians; we worked together with the police and army to maintain law and order in the country.”
Salamula, 69, who witnessed the boycotting of payment in Nkhata Bay, Karonga and Rumphi, threatened to take the matter to court if the President does not intervene.
Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya said the decried amount was calculated on case-by-case basis depending on their last pay.
In an interview on Monday, Msowoya explained: “The general explanation is that those who had worked for less than five years were only entitled to gratuity because they did not qualify for pension.
“You may agree with me that the salaries were very low when Operation Bwezani happened. Unfortunately, the ex-gratia was calculated based on every recipient’s last pay at that time.”
According to Msowoya, government is drawing the fund for the ex-MYPs from the pension fund set aside for gratuity and other terminal benefits for civil servants.
The national coordination office estimates that 7 000 ex-MYP workers were rendered jobless by Operation Bwezani.