Erica Aniva, who has hit local and international headlines for sleeping with over 100 widows and young girls in an outdated cultural cleansing ritual came out of the court in Nsanje puffing but his case still looks smoky.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula has said the court is yet to identify another magistrate after First Grade Magistrate Anderson Masanjala recused himself from the case.
“Another magistrate is yet to be identified from the chief resident magistrates court in the south,” said Mvula.
He was however optimistic that the new magistrate would take over the case by August 24 when the case goes back in court at the Nsanje Magistrates Court.
Masanjala recused himself from the case saying he stays in Nsanje so he wanted to remain neutral.
Aniva, popularly known as Eric the hyena was thrown back to Nsanje prison as his bail was denied a second time in the packed court room.
Prosecutor Christopher Botoman opposed the bail request for Aniva over fears that he could “intimidate and influence” witnesses not to testify in court.
Given the “nature and seriousness of the offence and the severity of the punishment if convicted” it would “not be in the interest of justice to release the accused on bail.”
The prosecution also said the 45-year-old – who has said he is infected with the Aids virus – was likely to jump bail and cross the border into Mozambique.
But Aniva, whose first bid to secure bail was earlier this month, rejected the idea, saying he was “not scared” to face trial.
Soon after stepping out of the court room, as he was being escorted back to prison, he lit a cigarette and puffed his way back to the prison where he is remanded.
The Law Society of Malawi has said it will represent him when the court reconvenes on August 24.
He has been charged with practising harmful cultural practises.
Aniva has said openly that he slept with the young girls as young as 12 years ago and also widows as part of the cultural cleansing ritual.
His wife is a widow whom he slept with after the death of her husband in the same ritual.
“We want him back home. We are suffering because we have no food,” his 25-year-old wife Fanny told AFP.
“When he is around, we don’t suffer because he is a man and he finds means to bring food to the house.”
His second wife, Sophia, said he had long abandoned the “hyena” business.
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