The Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has commended President Lazarus Chakwera for apologising to Malawians for gross human rights violations perpetrated by the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) during the one party dictatorial regime.
In a statement signed by Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa, CHRR says President Chakwera’s apology is an acknowledgement that serious human rights violations were committed during that era, and that his government is accepting responsibility for what happened.
It says however, while commending the President for the apology, CHRR is of the view that Chakwera should have gone further to tell Malawians what else will be done by his government to redress the harm that was caused as well as what is being done to keep them safe from future rights abuses by the state or its agents.
“The best apology, as they say, addresses the future not just the past.” Reads the statement in part.
On Friday, President Chakwera met members of the late Masauko Chipembere’s family at Moto Village in Mangochi in what could be described as reconciliation efforts.
The village was razed down in 1971 and several people were killed with others being imprisoned without trial because they supported Masauko Chipembere, a politician who opposed Banda’s dictatorship.
Kaiyatsa observed that the wounds inflicted by the dictatorial MCP regime in Moto Village and elsewhere are so deep that they cannot be healed by word of mouth only.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for the President to follow up his apology with financial compensation to victims. In the absence of compensation, Chakwera’s apology will ring hollow and will be deemed insincere and ineffective,” he says.