One of the renowned historian and economic analyst Dr. Desmond Dudwa Phiri has rejected the call for British government to compensate families of those people who were tortured during the 1959 uprising, saying this will have a negative impact on the diplomatic relations between Malawi and Britain.

Phiri’s comments comes following calls made by renowned Lawyer and Opposition People’s Party (MP) for Nkhata-Bay Central Ralph Mhone that government should press for compensation from UK government.

The call was supported by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera who said he is consulting his legal adviser on the matter and if possible he will take the matter to Parliament in the next sitting.

Rejecting the call, Phiri said the move is unjustifiable as Malawi is already benefiting a lot from Britain’s economic support.

“What compensation are they talking about? In fact as Malawians we need to appreciate the support Britain is giving us in budget subsidy,” argued Dr Phiri, “That is enough compensation.”

Dr. Phiri said the case of the Mau Mau of Kenya, to which reference has been made, is different from that of Malawian freedom fighters as those compensated in Kenya in 2013 were living war veterans whereas those from Malawi are all dead.

“Lawyers should know history and philosophy. They must also know morals as well. In Kenya not everyone was compensated. It’s only a few of those who are alive.

Phiri further warned the government to trade carefully on this issue to avoid repeating the mistake that happened two years ago when late President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika expelled the then British High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane Dyte following a leaked diplomatic cable on governance and human rights concerns.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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