Bishop Emmanuel Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese in the influential Catholic Church, yesterday condemned the Malawi government decision of prioritizing the welfare of refugees at the expense of displaced Malawians.

This comes amid government plans to relocate 29 thousands refugees from Dzaleka camp in Dowa to Katili in Karonga.

Bishop Mtumbuka argued that there are many families in Karonga and other districts who have no settlements due to disasters or those who lost their houses due to land disputes, witchcraft accusations and chieftaincy wrangles among others.

“We are failing to help our fellow Malawians who have no where to stay for sometime due to different reasons and they are waiting for our help,” said Mtumbuka.

According to him, prioritizing the refugees will be a harm to Malawian displaced families.

“I am not saying that the refugees must not be helped but that we should bail out our fellow displaced Malawians first,” Mtumbuka said.

However, Minister of Home Affairs Grace Obama Chiumia said the money that will be used in the construction of the refugees camp at Katili will be from the UNHCR and not Malawi government.

She said Malawi government has only injected K100 million for the construction of road for people of Katili.

Karonga-Chitipa Heritage has however, threatened to take a court injunction against the relocation of refugees in conjunction with traditional leaders.

Recently, the area member of parliament Frank Mwenefumbo, accused Minister Chiumia and Paramount Chief Kyungu of deceiving President Peter Mutharika that Karonga residents are happy with the relocation of refugee camp while they are not.

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