When Malawi gained independence the government declared March 3 Martyrs’ Day, a public holiday in memory of all the freedom fighters that were killed during the events following Operation Sunrise. A move which was welcomed by the Malawian people.
However, 56 years down the line the surviving victims and families of the 51 martyrs led by lawyer Ralph Mhone, who is also the MP for the constituency where the killings occurred in 1959 are asking for reparations. The Mail and Guardian reported that the victims want the UK to make a payout of about $2-million to each family of those who died.
The Malawian Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa, who is also a Malawi government spokesperson, is reported to have said the government was only going to look into reparations only after they receive a formal request, as the issue needs a sober and diplomatic approach. He was also quoted as saying “We are saddened by any loss of life … but compensation does not arise. Malawi and the UK enjoy strong ties that go back many years; we look forward to continue those relations for many years,” said Michael Nevin, the British high commissioner to Malawi.
This petition comes after successful the Mau Mau Uprising Case which saw the UK government paying out £19.9-million in costs and compensation to 5 228 Kenyans who had been tortured by British colonial forces during the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1960.
Source: Mail & Guardian