T he Katili community in Karonga is said to have given government the greenlight to move refugees from Dzaleka, Dowa, to their area.
However, the decision by people of Katili led by their group village head—is not being favoured by some quarters.
But the larger community believes the coming of about 28 000 refugees in the area would benefit Katili through social and economic projects that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and government are expected to bring.
Speaking at a meeting the Katili Refugee Project Coordinating Committee organised on Friday, group village head (GVH) Cheghama said those not in favour of hosting the refugees were not Katili residents. GVH Cheghama argued that the community had been sidelined for decades; hence the refugee project would help to bring some development in the area.
“As of now, my subjects have no access to clean water, healthcare services and communication. As such, I am surprised to see that those who are opposing the project in my area do not stay here and have never supported us,” Cheghama said.
According to Katili Refugee Project Coordinating Committee chairperson Green Lulilo Mwamondwe, UNHCR plans to build schools, a tarmac road and a hospital in the area, which will benefit the entire community.
However, Karonga and Chitipa Heritage chairperson Alfred Mwambila recently told Malawi News Agency (Mana) that Karonga with its population of more than 300 000 people—had no land for extra population.
Instead, Mwambila said Katili could be used for relocating victims of disasters such as floods in the district. Located 15 kilometres from the M1 Road, north east of Karonga, Katili is one of the hard-to-reach areas in Karonga, and has a population of more than 3 000 people.
KA chief welcomes refugee camp