By Aliko Munde – Mana
Senior Chief Mwenewenya of Chitipa has allocated customary land at Mselema Village in the district for a proposed refugee camp.
A delegation from the Ministry of Homeland Security, Department of Refugees and Malawi Police Service on Sunday toured the proposed campsite.
Speaking after the tour, Senior Chief Mwenewenya said the land has been given to government because traditional leaders are willing to work towards government’s the aspirations.
He, therefore, asked government to speed up implementation of the project.
The camp will bring with it amenities such as a health centre, school and road network that will benefit communities surrounding the camp.
“Once materialised, the camp will benefit my people in terms of improved health services as, currently, the nearest health facility is 40 kilometers away. The road network will also be improved,” said Mwenewenya.
He further appealed to government to put strict measures in screening refugees to avoid accommodating rebels and military people from the war torn countries.
“Government should put much effort into the country’s security because it is paramount. We don’t want our security to be compromised,” he appealed.
Chairperson for Chitipa District Council, Thomson Kapesa, echoed Mwenewenya’s sentiments saying refugees should also be screened for ailments.
“We don’t want to have an outbreak of strange diseases in the country due improper handling of refugees,” he asked.
Principal Secretary responsible for Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Homeland Security, Dr Steven Kayuni said government and other stakeholders will speed up establishment of the camp.
“Speed is of essence so that we have a refugee camp in Chitipa. This is a good piece of land, which is vast enough to decongest Dzaleka Refugee Camp.
Commissioner for Refugees in the Department of Refugees, General Ignacio Maulana (Rtd) said the Department will discuss with security agencies such Malawi Police Service, Malawi Defence Force about security issues raised.
Minister of Homeland Security, Kenneth Zikhale Ng’oma recently said that Dzaleka Refugee Camp is too close to Lilongwe and poses a threat to national security.