…wants an explanation on bloated relocation budget
By Iommie Chiwalo
With no sign to demonstrate implementation of the court ruling that refugees and asylum seekers must be relocated to designated camps, the Mzuzu Youth Caucus has written the Homeland Minister for an update.
In the ruling, the government was expected to relocate urban based refugees by end of November and those in rural areas by end January 2023.
But since there is no sign of the undertaking the organization thought it wise to request for an explanation on the status of Refugees relocation exercise.
In a letter signed by MYC’ Gomezgani Nkhoma says the request is part of ensuring that human rights are followed, especially on aspects of transparency and accountability.
“Since the onset of this initiative to date, we have not heard anything from your office on its progress nor the amount of resources used so far, nor the challenges experienced,” Nkhoma said.
He has also sought light on expenses by quoting the Homeland Minister’s previous remarks where she indicated that the exercise will cost K300 million but independent investigations show that it will cost MK1. 2 billion.
“Now we are requesting what has necessitated the change. Why not communicate the change to the public which constitutes tax payers,” queries Nkhoma.
Government in its earlier communiqué to the City and district Councils through awareness campaigns made it clear that the rural and urban relocation exercise shall come to an end by January to February 2023 respectively.
“But as a nation we are not seeing nor hearing any strange things happening to prove if indeed the exercise is taking shape and if at all that the deadlines will be met. Please tell the nation whether the Ministry has changed, canceled the exercise or not,” queries Nkhoma
Adding that it is alleged that the Minister responsible received kickbacks over the same exercise and has since asked her to clear her name on this allegation.
The responsible Minister never responded to our phone calls when pressed for her reaction to matters raised by the Mzuzu based organization.
However, on issues of safety bearing in mind the essence of human rights, Nkhoma has also demanded an explanation on the recent incident of explosives at Dzaleka Refugee Camp that led to injuries of refugees.
“When will the investigations be concluded so that the general public is informed of what happened? Can you also clear rumours that you are relocating people in silence yet the exercise was supposed to be public as it were the case with the sensitization campaign to build people’s trust in this noble cause which in the end will quash the notion that something fishy might be at stake,” reads the letter to the Minister.