Leaders of July 20 bereaved families in Mzuzu have threatened to hold demonstrations to clear claims that government had started compensating the families.
The bereaved families dragged government to court to claim compensation for lives that were lost in the 2011 countrywide demonstrations against the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration. Government agreed to compensate the victims.]
President Peter Mutharika early this year authorised that the families be compensated but to date the families have not received their compensation despite government claims that it had begun the process and called on any victim to make an application.
Speaking in an interview on Sunday, spokesperson for the families, Isaac Banda, said from the time government indicated that it had started the process of compensation the families have been on the representatives’ neck accusing them of squandering money.
He said there is tension among the families since some victims believe that representatives got the money and did not want to share.
According to Banda, government was supposed to start compensating people in April but has not done so up to date.
“Life is becoming unbearable for them. They need to support the children with food, clothes and also send them to school but without the money they can’t. We just want to make it clear that government has not released any money,” said Banda.
Chairperson for the bereaved families in Mzuzu, Boston Ngwira, said the compensation claims have only worsened the situation as victims are attacking one another.
“Some came from far places to access the money and they could not believe us when we told them there was no money,” said Ngwira.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale did not pick up his phone when called for comment. Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya was caught up in a meeting and could not attend to questions. n