Delayed justice for July 20 killings ‘worrying sign’ on Malawi rights record

Justice delayed is Justice denied – it is a vital and long-held tenet of the legal system. Human rights campaigners have said the delay on cases  of Malawi police officers who were responsible for the  20 deaths and several injuries during  July 20, 2011  mass demonstrations calling for an end to president Bingu wa Mutharika’s increasingly repressive and authoritarian policies is a. a “worrying sign.”

Ian Kanyama capture poining a gun at a civiiian

Ian Kanyama capture poining a gun at a civiiian

The Commission of Inquiry which investigated the killings recommended that the government must ensure that ‘police officers who were responsible for the deaths and injuries are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted where unlawful conduct is established’. Victims should also be compensated.

But there has been delayed delivery of justice on the matter and mostly shielding of culprits attracting criticism from  Centre for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) executive director Timothy Mtambo, saying  government has shown no respect to the sanctity of human life.

In the July 2o killings prosecutions, nine police officers, including Ian Kanyama, son of the current police Inspector General Paul Kanyama, were interdicted, subsequently arrested and charged with various crimes, including murder.

The other officers are  sub-inspector Kamwala of Lumbadzi Police Station, sergeant Makokezi of B Company, constable Lobo of Kawale Police Station, Lemekezo Mikuti, Kelvin Nyirenda, Benedicto Dzombe, Paul Mussa, Mahomed Kulusinje all from Ndirande Police Station.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission, in its recent state of human rights report, warned that delayed justice  or the tragic events of July 20th 2011 was reflecting negatively on the State’s willingness to uphold human rights and rule of law.

Apart from prosecution, the Commission recommended for changes to the police service.

It called on the government to ‘make sure that the police is equipped with sufficient non-lethal weapons and appropriate equipment for effective control of riots’ and that more officers are recruited.

And to develop a comprehensive policy and operational guidelines in connection with crowd control and, specifically, on the use of firearms – including better training, which should also cover issues of human rights, negotiation skills and basic first aid skills.

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26 thoughts on “Delayed justice for July 20 killings ‘worrying sign’ on Malawi rights record”

  1. Magna Carter says:

    Magna Carta, which means ‘The Great Charter’, is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.

  2. Matumbuka says:

    shop yanga inathyoledwa ndi anthu akuba tsiku limeneli mtauni, kodi inu a cso mundithandiza bwanji. ambiri amene anaphedwa zinali zigawenga zokuba. zionesero zimakhuzana bwanji ndi kuthyola ma shop? tandiyankhe iwe Mtambo

  3. Abiti says:

    All of dem were thieves apart from a builder who was shot as he was working.

    1. Peter says:

      Bingu was a thief, but has stadium named after him!
      Why do you think people celebrated when they heard he has died?

  4. BIG MAN says:


  5. BERN says:

    this arm of government is worrisome

  6. Achimidzimidzi says:

    You can fool some people sometime, but you cannot run away from yourself.

  7. Nangwiri says:

    Anthu awa ndi a chinyengo kwambiri,koma sitikutaya ntima poti alipo oweluza olungama ndipo the Muthalika’s adzaweluzidwa chifukwa chopondeleza ndi kubela a Malawi. Ndalama ndi mphanvu zopeza mwachinyengo sizidzawapulumutsa kapena kuwateteza zimenezi zichitika

  8. maganizo wa maganizo says:

    The people who were killed on 20th July,were those who were breaking into shops.The other survivors who should have been killed were timothy Mtambo and his friend who repented for wrong doing. You know who.That is why Mulli was compensated.The administration of Joice did not compensate them because she knew there was no reason for doing so.Why should this administration compensate are very stupid mr mtambo.If you want politics why cant you join it.Why are you doing politics behind the scene. You mean to say killing thieves is human violation.Fotseki.

  9. Zimachitaku ndi zimenezitu ngati munthu wa mulandu wakupha wapatsidwa bail,amapita kwa ng’anga kukapeza mankhwala achikuda mulandu nkuiwalika

  10. Nyamakumutu says:

    Kuzisaka ma cso trying to get this and that so that you can gain momentum. I am surprised that non of you who organized the demos did not die or injured as the July 20. If one of you was part of the 20 I would have said that the killing was violating the rights but these people were busy looting shops instead of walking in the streets. Was the steeling part of the demo.

    1. Think Tank says:

      Recall what happened on that day. It was very obvious the government was not willing for demos. “we will meet in the street” said Bingu. Cadets brandishing pangas right up on the eve of demos. The police were already in “shoot to kill” mood as instructed previously. The government organised a meaningless lecture on that day. During the lecture there was a gap when the president was being briefed on the demos.

  11. Malindima says:

    There was an opportunity missed for 2 years when JB was in power. She was corroborating with all the NGOs for that demonstration. All these cases could have been concluded.We heard nothing from these suspicious NGOs about this case for the two years in reference.Lets us just pray for the souls of those who list their lives to RIP. No conclusion will ever be reached on this one may be when DPP is out and just may be as by
    that time, evidence should have been destroyed.

  12. Nkhombokombo says:

    Amwene pa #1, muganidzile kuti nanu zakukhuzan? Mkuti anthu amene anafa aja anali akuba, kodi inu muli ndi umboni wanji? Chonde khalani ndi maganizo aumunthu.

  13. Mkwaso says:

    The truth of the matter is thugs and looters were shot and killed on 20 July 2011. Period.

  14. Chikopa says:

    Wayamba ina mtambo bwanji simanapange push jb ilipo munali pheeeee iwe ungokhala gov wa pp basi

  15. Somebody’s terrolist is some body’s freedom fighter.

  16. olira says:

    Choka iwe mbala amako uthakati basi

  17. kaukonde says:

    Investigate who killed Gadama. there no issue here this is a closed chapter joyce failed to conclude the cases because she the one who sponsored the thugs that were killed and her aim was to tarnish the human right record of Bingu. in fact the CSOs were also involved in sponsoring the thugs because they knew they will be killed and therefore will have grounds to appeal for suspension of aid which result into problems then a revolt and fall of government or pressure on Bingu who would die of cardia

  18. mtila zomba says:

    those shot dead were thieves who broke into some peple shops. how can u investigate a policeman who killed a thief? other wise cso’s are to blame for the deaths, u gave money to vendors to vandalise other people’s properties. shame on u

  19. Fotseki says:

    20 July tinapha mbala who broke into shops. No nkhani apa. Fotseki

    1. Mccarthy says:

      Which Mbala u talking about, you’re idiot, that’s why in malawi, their is no justice, because idiot like you, futseki, you will die poor my friend.

    2. Ndikututi komwe amanena kuti punishment yakuba ndi kupha, you son of a hocker!!!! I hope you die an excruciating death if you are not repentant of the sin you committed because tye Bible states that ‘the wages if sin is death…’!

    3. ukuti mbala anali ana aamayi ako?uzamangidwa nthawi ikakwana

    4. zondani says:

      mbala ndiye yoyenera kuphedwa kodi? bwanji kusowa zonena mutu wodzadza madzi iwe!

    5. Think Tank says:

      u cadet umenewo. Welengani ma rights to life. Ku Australia azungu amene amamangidwa ku UK amatumiza ku Australia mpaka pano dzikolo ndi lotukuka kwambiri chifukwa cha rehabilitation. Ndinu mumawocha ana anu ataba nthuli. Kusonyeza kulephera kulangiza ana. Ndinu mumatema anthu ndizikwanje pankhani za ndale. Nanga mukuti munapha. Munamvapo mau a Mulungu akumuwuza Adam kuti “fufa uzafa ndithu”? Sanane kuti abwino azatsala. Kuchokera patsiku limene inu munapha anthu amenewaja,kwalakwa kangati? Inu mukuti anali akuba,muli ndi umboni?

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