Malawi Parliament endorses government’s enforcement of relocation of refugees to Dzaleka Camp

* We have noted that the action by government follows the behavior of some refugees

* Whose conduct in living and doing business outside designated refugee camps without any permit is inconsistent with the law

* That regulates refugees and asylum seekers in this country

By Duncan Mlanjira

In its constitutional mandate to provide oversight on the actions of the Executive Arm of Government, Malawi Parliament has endorsed the decision which the Ministry of Homeland & Security to enforce refugees to return to camps.


A joint statement from three Parliamentary committees — Defence & Security; Trade & Industry as well as International Relations — said they “have noted with appreciation the action taken by the government in enforcing the law on refugees”.

Signed by chairperson of the Committe of Chairpersons, Joyce Chitsulo and the three committees’s chairpersons, Ralph Jooma, Paul Dumembe Nkhoma and Patrick Bandawe, they emphasized that the three committees are “collectively responsible in providing in providing oversight on refugees”.

“We have noted that the action by government follows the behavior of some refugees whose conduct in living and doing business outside designated refugee camps without any permit is inconsistent with the law that regulates refugees and asylum seekers in this country.

“We are also aware that government’s action is also based on a culmination of various notices and court processes during which the said refugees were requested to return to designated refugee camps, however, such requests and orders were not adhered to.


“As a member of the United Nations, which has domesticated some UN Conventions on refugees, we note that the Malawi Government is acting within the law governing refugees in this country and as a Committee Chairpersons, we endorse the action taken by the Ministry of Homeland Security in enforcing the law.

“What some of the refugees were doing by freely wondering around and in certain cases operating businesses with permits, was a recipe for chaos and rendered our laws on refugees almost useless.”

Thus the three committees stressing that they “would not want to see lawlessness prevail in the manner in which refugees behave in this country”.

A public statement from Ministry of Homeland Security on May 19 — while thanking the Malawi citizenry for “keeping calm and for the support rendering during the enforcement of the refugees’ relocation — indicated that Government had earlier given them April 15, 2023 as deadline for them “voluntarily relocate to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa but some chose not to comply with the order”.


Thus on Tuesday last week, the Malawi Police Service and the Department of Immigration & Citizenship Services “wound up 408 people in order to screen their documentation”.

“Of the 408 that were temporarily kept at Maula, 152 who had valid refugee and asylum seeker’s documentation have been returned to Dzaleka Camp; 7 individuals that had valid permits have also been released.”

The statement further said Government is aware that “some Malawians are harboring illegal immigrants and shielding them from law enforcers — an act which is an interference with the law.

“The Ministry, therefore, wishes to reiterate that any individual found meddling with this process will be brought to book.”

The Ministry thus ordered the refugees still living out of Dzaleka camp to return voluntarily, while emphasizing that the exercise which started with Lilongwe will continue with other districts and asked the Malawi citizenry to remain calm as government agencies continue with their mandate.

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Meanwhile, we have in possession a police report from National Headquarters in Lilongwe that investigations have been opened on two detectives namely Inspector Molley Makomera and Assistant Superintendent Elube Malombe Mbewe on allegations of corruption, in relation to the relocation of the refugees.

The report says the issues was filed by ACP Jessie Nyirongo and deputy director of Criminal Investigations Department at National Police Headquarters as the police were carrying out an exercise of relocating the refugees to Dzaleka, they were also taking custody of cargo containers from Mgona Township belonged to the asylum seekers for safety.

Then on Saturday, the first suspect Makombero received a phone call from Ndayisaba Emmanuel Innocent — a Burundi national operating his business at Gulliver — asking to meet her at Glarary Bottle Store in Area 49 to have a discussion.


She then called her colleague Mbewe to accompany her to hear the concerns of the one who called her and were asked for assistance in securing their containers and its goods by offering to provide K15 million.

The Burundi national is reported to have been accompanied by six others and the two police detectives reportedly informed them that they cannot manage to assist but would be connected to relevant authorities.

Mbewe then called the reporter of the case informing her of the concerns of the refugees concerns and when giving a feedback to the Burundian — who was then together with Ugandan national, Joseph Kalema, Mbewe told him to add K5 million to make a total amount of 20 million.

The Burundian and his friends are reported to have asked the officers for them to discuss in private to find means of sourcing the extra K5 million and in the process other Police detectives arrived and arrested the two officers and the as well as the refugees on suspicion of official corruption.

Public notice