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New group in Karonga supports relocation of Dzaleka refugee camp, accuses its counterpart of lacking knowledge

KARONGA-(MaraviPost)—A group of some business community, members of clergy and farmers in Karonga have called government through the Ministry of Home Affairs to continue with its decision of relocating the Dzaleka refugees camp from Dowa to Katili area in the district.

Group members at press briefing

The development comes after another group known as Karonga-Chitipa heritage rubbished the decision saying the district should not be a dumping area for criminals.

Karonga-Chitipa heritage also feared that most of the local businesses and land will be occupied by these refugees while accusing government for coming up with a concluded decision without proper consultation.

“We are not going to allow this project. This is because of security reasons and lack of proper consultation,” said the district coordinator for Karonga-Chitipa heritage Steven Simsokwe.

However, their opponent under the banner of the Forum for Peaceful Refugees Camping and Integration in Malawi (FPRCIM) said Karonga-Chitipa heritage lack knowledge on the important of having the refugee camp in the area hence call upon government to sensitize them.

Speaking during the press conference on Monday, the group leader Wise Kayira said as much as they are concerned with the developmental condition of Katili area and the goodness of the refugee camp, they will not allow their brothers and sisters miss this opportunity.

“The coming of refugee camp at Katili will automatically develop the area. This is what the Karonga-Chitipa heritage lacks,” said Kayira.

“The refugees camp will bring a tarmac road, water, electricity and social services of international standards such as school as well as hospital in just mentioning a few,” he added.

On the issue of security as feared by the Karonga-Chitipa heritage, FPRCIM leader said the country already have enough and tightened security.

They also asked the Karonga-Chitipa heritage group to remember that most of the district’s residents were refugees in Tanzania during the one party era.

“A real Karonga resident cannot be against this development especially when looking from where we are coming. Our parents were also refugees in Tanzania and they were welcomed. So it will be unfair for us to block our colleagues,” they said.

The group has also conducted massive sensitisation campaign at the Katili area using its resources.

Reacting to the development, Simsokwe said the group has its constitutional right but asked its members to be patriotic to their own district and not sell their people and land because of money.

He said his group will not allow such development to be carried out in their district and that it will use any means to block the idea.

Meanwhile, government will take some of the residents to Uganda and Dzaleka refugee camp to appreciate the important of having the camp in the area.

About 28 thousands refugees are in plan to be relocated to Katili area in Karonga from Dowa district, according to government.

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