Parents, village elders risk arrest for sex crimes over Malawi hyena saga

President Peter Mutharika has ordered a thorough investigation into allegations that parents and village elders were handing over girls, as younger as 12 to sleep with 40 year old Eric Aniva who has since been arrested.

From left to right: Aniva, Fanny with their youngest child, Fanny's sister and a former client

From left to right: Aniva, Fanny with their youngest child, Fanny’s sister and a former client

Aniva, in his own confession to BBC and other local media organisations, said he had slept with 104 young girls ranging from the age of 12 to 18 and widows soon after the death of their husbands in a bizarre cleansing initiation ceremonies.

“After the investigations, arrests may follow,” said presidential press secretary, Mgeme Kalilani.

He said President Mutharika was disturbed with the report on BBC and said he has vowed to protect young girls and vulnerable women, the widows.

“The President says young girls and widows should not be exploited through the use of culture,” said Kalilani in an interview with Malawi Broadcastin Corporation.

Police in Nsanje on Monday arrested Aniva and he has since been charged with sexually assaulting young girls.

Nsanje police officer in charge Culbert Kaonga said this follows his own confessions during his recent and past interviews with the BBC and other local media.

Malawi, which has one of the highest HIV infections in the world, criminalises sex with a person under the age of 16.

If found guilty of underage sex, Aniva could be imprisoned for life.

The UNAIDS and UNWomen expressed concern over Aniva’s confessions that he does not tell the young girls and women that he is HIV positive when he is sleeping with them.

He got his present wife after sleeping with her in one of his sexual cleansing errands soon after the death of her husband.

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13 thoughts on “Parents, village elders risk arrest for sex crimes over Malawi hyena saga”

  1. Only the Truth says:

    I agree with those who contend that we didn’t have to wait until the story came out on BBC. Every adult Malawian knows of the existence of these practices not just in Nsanje, but other districts as well. Is there anyone out there who has never held of Kuchotsa fumbi, Bulangete la Mfumu, as well as cultures where parents pay back loans by giving their young girls to the lender? Our own media have covered these stories many times. But as a country, we don’t seem to have a strategy for solving any problem decisively. Instead, we take piecemeal and haphazard actions just to be seen to be doing something, especially when the issue is in the limelight. Its high time the appropriate authorities took decisive actions to end the various vices we face as a country, including rampant corruption. I do not believe arresting the ‘hyenas’ in Nsanje will end any similar practices in any other district in Malawi.

  2. mukiva says:

    Komatu Ku muhlako kuja munatiuza kuti tisinge chikhalidwe chamakolo… Ku Umtheto munachita kunena mchizungu bwana kuti a tribe without culture is like a tree ???? without roots. Ndiye titani tiuze iwe Peter.

    1. Okey tamva says:

      A Mukiva, sizikukhudzana ndi chikhalidwe cha makolo izi. Amangozipanga cos of umbuli.

  3. NYANI says:

    It could be a case of “Don’t hate the playa-hate the game?”

  4. kk concerned says:

    some progress has been made. Bravo to the president BUT it does not make any sense to me that this hyena practice has been there for very long and the president is saying he is disturbed. Is he disturbed because the BBC has disclosed the practice to the world or he is disturbed because he did not know about this practice? – See more at:

  5. Ine says:

    More questions to this Sad story:
    1. Why did it take BBC reporter to bring this out..
    2. Nsanje is flooded with with NGOs; what development activities are they doing
    Eric is HIV positive and Slept with atleast 104 women and girls; there is a saying that goes ‘educating a girl child is educating entire nation; what if ‘Spoiling a girl Child….? I think this is more than Terrorism and more than Gun war. Malawi’s intelligence system (if at all exists) needs to be shaken.
    This story to me only appears as a tip of ice mountain; Mmalawi muno mukuchitika zambiri.

  6. Harawara says:

    This matter is bigger that it appears. Where were the traditional leaders and why could they not stop the monster? The Village knew what Aniva was doing and possibly he/she chose him to be carrying out the “purification exercise”. The society allowed Aniva to be doing it without shame and remorse. The society is responsible too. The message against harmful traditional practices has gone loud and clear across the Republic and yet we continue hearing horrific stories such as these. There are many projects in the country addressing such practices and their evaluation reports cheat us that behaviours have improved and yet there is Aniva happily preying on innocent and defenseless souls. Do we really need the President to be hunting Aniva yet we have traditional leaders, MPs, Councillors and rights groups that claim to protect citizens from Avina type people? District Councils and law and order men and women in uniform don’t you feel embarrassed and inefficient when these atrocities happen in your backyards? Aniva might go to the galore but what about those he will leave behind injured and mentally traumatized? This is not just evening news it is about young people’s lives shattered

  7. Justice Chilungamo says:

    Nkuluyi sanalakwe. Koma culture imeneyi ndiyolakwika. Ndinakakondwera akanaifufuza nkhaniyi kuchokera Ku makolo a atsikanawo. Chifikwa makolowo amachita kumupempha mpakaso kumulipira nkuluyi. Ndiye tisamumange koma mumange makolo awanawo. Ngati makolo amamupempha nkuluyi ndikumulipiranso mumati adzikana ntchito mmeme zimasowera mumizimu. Amfumu tengani makolo a anawo aphunzisidwe kuti asazaperekenso Ana awo kwa a fisi. Vuto lilipankhaniyi ndiyoti akumamga munthu osalakwa. Yemwe amangopemphedwa ndi makolo awanawo. Papanda makolo kumupempha bwezi nkuluyi Ali fisi? Tiyeni tiwaphunzise anthuwa basi. Kumumanga nkuluyi sinzeru

  8. Achimidzimidzi says:

    I bet, you are going to arrest the whole village. The chief inclusive and the T/A. Because these are said to be custodians of our culture in Malawi. DCz may even have the knowledge of what was happening as well.

    Lets see who is a saint here, because even your traditional dances abuse of girls.

  9. jolijo says:

    mumanga bwanji popeza iye amauzidwa chochota,oyenera kumangidwa ndi makolo ano

  10. lapkenifamily says:

    The problem with most African traditions is that there is an element of demonic appeasement to please the gods which most Africans religiously follow ignorantly without knowing that such bring curses against them. Such traditions have put Africans under bondage of poverty,limitation, delay and eventually premature deaths. God help us so that we come out of such bondage for the common good of all

  11. Nambewe says:

    Excellent APM! The women need to bee charged as well they are responsible for protecting these girls not getting them exploited. I understand this evil man even charged for condemning these girls to their death!!!! HOW ON EARTH IS OUR COUNTRY LIVING IN THESE PRIMITIVE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS DAY AND AGE

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