Members of the defunct Malawi Young Pioneers (MYP) have described as not only unfortunate, but also sheer ignorance calls by political returnees and detainees, and some sections of the society, for government to stop compensating them.
The ex-MYPs, through their leader Franco Chilemba, have since told their critics to mind their business, threatening to consider taking some of their critics to court over the matter.
The remarks follow calls from people who fled the country and those who were detained for various political reasons during the 31-year tyrannical rule of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), as well as rights activist Undule Mwakasungula, for government to stop compensating ex-MYPs.
However, in an interview, Chilemba said people making such calls are ignorant of the birth of MYP, but also the actual duties that they were carrying out.
He said such people confuse MYP with the Youth League of Malawi, which among others, was aimed at ensuring that people bought MCP cards, but also unleashed terror on those opposing the party at that time.
“These people must know that in 1963, seven people—the late Aleke Banda, Chifipa Msowoya, Mayi Thole, Chinula, a Mr Nkhonjera, Margaret Kumwembe and a Mr Njolomole—were sent to Ghana and in 1964, they opened Nasawa Traning base for MYP.
“Surprisingly, some claim that in 1964, they were tortured by MYP, but it is not true because at that time there were only seven MYP members in the country.
“Do they even know that we moulded bricks for Kamuzu Barracks and Police headquarters in Lilongwe? Do they know that it was us the MYP who cleared forests for all Press Agriculture Limited’s General Farming farms, and even the Capital Hill?” he wondered.
Chilemba stressed that no MYP member was involved in the alleged terror, as they were busy protecting the country through patrols in borders, but also helping the Chitukuko Cha Amayi m’Malawi (CCAM) in various development works.
Last week, people who fled the country and those who were detained for various political reasons during MCP rule asked government to stop compensating ex-MYPs, arguing, paying them at the expense of victims is promoting impunity.
Under the banner of Malawi Returnees and Political Detainees, they wondered why they are not being compensated themselves because they were victims of atrocities carried out by the ex-MYPs.
At a media briefing in Mzuzu , Malawi Returnees and Political Detainees (Karonga Chapter) chairperson, Charles Mwenefumbo said it was unfortunate that government had turned a deaf ear to their plight, but was busy looking at the welfare of ‘oppressors’.
Recently, governance and human rights campaigner Undule Mwakasungula was condemned by political analysts for asking the main opposition party MCP to pay off former MYP members instead of leaving the burden to government.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development is verifying personal details of the ex-MYPs for compensation.