The war between government and refugees as well as asylum seekers seems to be far from over as lawyer representing the claimants, Luciano Mickeus says he will appeal the ruling.
On August 12 2022, High Court Judge Mandala Mambulasa set aside a stay order and discharged an appeal for judicial review in a case in which the refugees and asylum seekers were challenging government’s decision to relocate them to Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
Mambulasa observed that those who moved the court on the same had no locus standi or capacity to bring an action in a court.
He said exhibits before the court show that the first claimant, Abdul Nahimana is an illegal immigrant from Burundi while the second claimant, Samuel Mkumbira, who is from Rwanda, duly acquired the citizenship of this country, as such, they have no sufficient interest in the matter.
Reads the ruling in part: “The government notice that is being disputed herein and which is the subject matter of this proceeding is clear. It is addressed to asylum seekers and refugees. The first claimant is neither of the two.
“The second claimant exhibited a Malawi citizenship identity card that was duly issued to him by the National Registration Bureau and yet he claimed to be an asylum seeker. Technically, and subject to verification by the defendant how he acquired the Malawi citizenship identity card, that exhibit alone, takes the second claimant out of the purview of the present proceeding.”
Senior legal advisor in the office of the Commissioner for Refugees, Ivy Chihana said government was satisfied with the ruling as it frees them to implement their decision.
She said: “Now that the order of stay and judicial review have been set aside, it means the directive that was there by government for them to relocate back to the camp, still stands. With the way the ruling was read, it is effective immediately.”
Speaking immediately after the ruling, Mickeus said he was satisfied with the ruling because some of his clients who live in urban areas were also served with notices to relocate to Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
However, yesterday he said he will be contesting the ruling.
He said: “We will appeal. The judge focused on the first and second claimants only yet there are others who are refugees living in rural areas.”
Private practice lawyer Cassius Chidothe said the judgement was made on technical grounds, saying it did not decide the issue substantively on whether government’s decision was correct or not.
In April last year, government gave refugees and asylum seekers, who left the camp and were living in rural areas, to return to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in 14 days or face deportation.
On June 9 2021, the court granted the refugees permission to apply for judicial review and stayed government’s decision.
Dzaleka Refugee Camp holds about 52 678 refugees and asylum seekers.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the camp receives an average of 300 new arrivals per month, the majority of whom (62 percent) are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.