Malawi man pleads guilty to sex crimes: Aniva confess to being a hyena,  charged with prohibition of harmful practices

Eric Aniva, a Nsanje commercial sex ‘hyena’ who slept with 104 young girls and widows since 1985 in an outdated sexual cleansing ritual, has been remanded at Nsanje Prison after he was charged with prohibition of harmful practices.

Eric Aniva, who has been arrested by Malawian police. Photograph by Eldson Chagara, AP

Eric Aniva, who has been arrested by Malawian police. Photograph by Eldson Chagara, AP

He is the first to be charged with the offence which is under Gender Equality Act.

Aniva pleaded guilty and his co-accused Tennyson Jampa, 55, pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors said they would be bringing in other charges against the two and others yet to be arrested.

Eight more men are wanted on this and other sexual related offences and police say they are hunting for them.

The police also indicated parents of the under age chidren and village elders who surrendered the young girls might face other charges.

Aniva and his co accused also faces defilement charges.

Nsanje Magistrate Court’s Anderson Masanjala remanded Aniva and Jampa until August 5 when he is expected to deliver judgement on Aniva following his guilty plea and start a full trial case for Jampa who pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution is expected to parade witnesses to prove Jampa was part of the cultural syndicate of serial sex offenders for young girls and widows.

They slept with the widows allegedly to cleanse them of any evil and curses and usually it was done before the burial of their husbands.

The revelation by Aniva to the BBC has shocked the country and the world at large as people thought these harmful cultural practices ended long ago. Aniva is HIV positive and said he does not tell his clients his sero status.

Meanwhile, Malawi Police Service (MPS) has said it is ready to arrest all people implicated in traditional sexual cleansing like  Aniva.

National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa disclosed  that Aniva mentioned people who were engaging in the ‘hyena’ work with him.

“More names of perpetrators and victims are coming out. We will not divulge much information on our investigations and we cannot reveal the identity of the victims to respect their right to dignity, but we are ready to arrest all people that are involved in the malpractice,” said Gondwa.

Aniva’s arrest followed President Peter Mutharika’s directive to have him jailed following BBC News story on July 21 2016 outlining his role as a fisi (hyena) who sleeps with young girls and widows in sexual cleansing rituals.

In the story, which went viral on social media, Aniva confessed to being HIV positive, exposing the girls and women he had slept with to the virus.

Aniva  said he was being hired to have sexual intercourse with teenage girls as young as 12 after their first menstruation, at a fee of between $4 (about K3 400)and $7 (about K5 000, paid by each of their families).

If found guilty of defilement, Aniva  in his 40s with two wives, could be imprisoned for life, according to Section 138 of the Penal Code.

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27 thoughts on “Malawi man pleads guilty to sex crimes: Aniva confess to being a hyena,  charged with prohibition of harmful practices”

  1. Fletcher says:

    The arrest of the hyena man of Nsanje is not fair because that such practice like kulowa akufa is not his own making but something rooted in the culture or tradition so much so many are involved. If means to stop the practice many are to be arrested including the Traditional Chiefs who are the custodians of the very evil practices. Is the government really ready to arrest all members in the area of the practice. There is need of carrying out stakeholder analysis and come up with the best solutions to the problem other than rushing at effects of the cause. Ever since there has never been any complaint lodged about any rape or defilement of young girls except for the recent one when someone who does not subscribe to the practices tipped the authorities. This is not going to solve the predicament much as many are involved. Honestly, both men the fisi’s have no case to answer only that the president has ordered his arrest if anything he should order the arrest of everyone no matter how many they are.
    On the other hand I am not trying to appease those involved in anyway but perhaps I am only calling for a more sound approach to the problem on the ground which requires to be arrested too. Being a practicing Christian I find such a practice is deplorable, sinful and anyone found involved is immediately discouraged from being actively involved in faith matters.

    1. MOJO says:

      @Fletcher in Latin or in law they say “ignorantia juris non excusat”. Need we say more!

      1. Fletcher says:

        Yes Mojo can you come again clearly because I forgot everything I learnt in latin in 2002, elucidate your idea

  2. Winn says:

    Weak criminal justice system I say. We might arrest them bla bla blah just do your jobs and re introduce public hanging for everyone found guilty. …waste of tax payers money putting them in jail…these are rapists ..peadephilia (spelling)

  3. James Gogoda says:

    Briton coming to Malawi to reveal this ordeal to the whole world when our journalists are sitting phwii pampando. Shame! Let me tip you something. If you go deeper to initiation ceremonies, Nyau and other cultures, you’ll find more than this. It should not take another foreigner to discover these abuses

    1. gogo says:

      u stupid gogoda…this doesn’t mean our journalists have never reported this. it just shows how shallow u follow wats written in our papers . its a shame the whole HE goes on bbc to cover this by arresting an innocent man. Arrests shud start from the minister going doing to the chiefs who are the custodians. EVen in thyolo where HE comes from kuchotsa fumbi is still in practice.

  4. Aniva kileyekiliye says:

    1. Aniva was chosen by village elders and sanctioned by Village heads and chiefs.

    2. Village elders were handing over widows and adolescent girls for Aniva to cleans them.

    3. Parents were giving consent for this to happen. Most females if not all from Sena belt have gone through this cultural practice and if we ask them today, they can point the hyenas who feasted on them.

    4. Some are even having top jobs in Government, Civil Society Organisations and Private companies, yet they went through this and have been quite.

    5. If any arrests, then arrests all community members from Sena belt and charge them differently according to the role they played in the cultural practice.

    6. There is possibility that Aniva got the infection in the course of fulfilling cultural practice. Remember HIV started in 1985 when Aniva was chosen to start this job. If this can not happen then release Aniva and compensate him for being exposed to infection.

    Hear me kileye kiliye here.

  5. Zinziri says:

    Eric Aniva, a Nsanje commercial sex ‘hyena’ who slept with 104 young girls and widows since 1985 – and – If found guilty of defilement, Aniva in his 40s with two wives – I quote and do the ARITHMETIC and tell how old was he when her started chewing the sweet sixteens or levens??????

  6. Namkungwiii says:

    Mwana sakulangira ndi munthu wina

  7. Ine mu diaspora says:

    Student what a shame you are. Tell your concerned friends that this is not symptomatic of the whole country– we see on the news daily about psychopaths in America do we conclude that all Americans are psychopaths? And inu a nyasatimes what is this charge __prohibition of harmful practices _ wasn’t anniva doing the exact opposite of prohibition, ie, he was promoting the practices and not prohibiting them. If they have indeed charged him with prohibiting harmful practices then there is no case here.

    1. Student says:

      I wish you knew. But If you are a student in a foreign land, whatever you do; becomes a representation of your country. If you are stupid, people think that all Malawians are stupid. Sadly, if you are wise, people dont think that all Malawians are wise. Likewise, if they hear anything bad about your country, you are automatically thought as being party to it. As such, I dont blame these “friends” of mine, for their reaction. I decry the timing – It has just happened at the wrong time (when FIFA sanctioned international friendly games were just about to begin).

  8. Chifundo says:

    The district AID Coordinator must be fired.

    Sad that this BBC journalist will win an award while our journalists are busy following ministers when they go to inaugurate toilets at a market.

  9. True Patriot says:

    I feel pitty for the young girls who are the victims of this archaic cultural tradition that exposed them to contracting the deadly AIDS virus. I only hope that it didn’t get that bad.

    I, however, also profoundly sympathize with the arrested man for the following reasons :
    1) This man is a mere victim of circumstances. Most of us know that this cultural practice is still prevalent in some parts of the country and its really hypocritical to fein surprise at its existence. I’m sure sure that the president was merely embarrassed that this guy bragged about his escapedes to an international media outlet.
    2) The president wanted to make an example of this guy and, in the process, score cheap political points. On the other hand. I feel his reaction may actually expose just how out of touch, and thus weak our leadership are. Are we really admitting to the world that the whole president of the country, the whole cabinet of 20 plus ministers, all the institutions, and indeed, the whole population of over 15 million, had didn’t know that this vice was going on right under our noses and that it had to take a BBC reporter to expose this practice?
    3) Now, it is really scary when one finds oneself under the full wrath of the executive fury because no one seems to dare practice any common sense. Interestingly, the president ordered the arrest of this poor soul first before complaints were made, let alone, investigations by police! Well, our president recently defended his decision not to arrest or fire the 7 suspected ministers implicated in the K577 billion because he does not act on rumors… Double standards?
    4) Sadly, our legal fraternity has gone eerily silent. Why are they not speaking against executive interference in judicial matters?
    Why can’t they remind their learned colleague that everyone is innocent until proven guilty by competent court of law?

    I’m not in anyway attempting to defend this errant brute but let us do what we would want others do unto us, otherwise we will fast turn into an animal farm nation where some people are more equal than others…

  10. James Phiri says:

    Tikukanika kumanga anthu anaba K577 bn koma kulimbana ndi anthu osauka and defenseless. These cultural and traditional practices date back many centuries and include: Kulowa Kufa, kuhara, fisi, female genital mutilation etc. They are primitive, archaic, bad, retrogressive – yes. But the answer is not to arrest Mr. Aniva. And the parents of those children willingly bring those girls to the hyenas. So why arrest the hyena? Lets get to the bottom of these cultural practices. Arresting one man will only push the practice underground. There are better ways of dealing with such matters. Presidential Advisors, Mafumu, MPs, T/As explain these things to the President. He doesn’t understand them. He stayed in the USA for too long

  11. Student says:

    Have you ever felt embarrassed to be called Malawian? I have! Here is my story.
    Am in a foreign (overseas) country now (doing school), but I often read Nyasatimes to keep myself updated. And no sooner had I read the Aniva story on Nyasa, than I received a WhatsApp message from a female friend/classmate (from west Africa), asking (derogatorily) about the issue, with a particular emphasis on the man’s HIV status. She told me and I can still recall, “The problem is, such issues may reduce your chances.” No need to explain kuti ndi mkazi ameneyu, we are closer than closest.
    As if I hadnt had enough disturbing ridicule from this lady, another female friend (Chinese) asked me about the same. She even sent me a picture of Aniva (on WhatApp) as if I hadnt already seen it.
    Can anyone feel the embarrassment I had to endure, as I struggled to explain these disgusting fisi, kulowa kufa, kusasa fumbi things to her?; trying to create an impression that the government was doing all it could to undo these practices?; yet in my heart I knew that, hitherto; the govt had known, but been doing nothing about them?; only citing these practices [in reports, publications, magazines] as the ones partly to blame for the high HIV prevalence in Malawi?
    The most painful thing is tinapanga dongosolo ndi mChina yu but she seems to have changed her mind now because of this Aniva issue. And she has already sent me a long list of conditions if we still want to see how an African crocodile can swim in China sea. Aniva mwandilakwira kwambiri, ndisaname iyayi.

    1. Nyamakumutu says:

      Mwagwa nayo baba bwelani kuno mudzawapeza ena. After all even kwawoko they also have some of these stupid practices.

    2. Shangingi says:

      So you had two ladies? Wadzilakwila wekha! Khama has just came and bitten your greedy ass 😂😂😂

      1. chilombo says:

        its Karma! not khama!

    3. Mwananyanian says:

      Kikikikikikiest! Achimwene: get ready for celibacy for a while.

      Mr Aniva is but a secondary blame here: blame the primitive cultural “system” of ours. As you have indicated, everybody has known this practice goes on in the respective areas; but no government or political leaders since Kamuzu (sorry, I forgot he was not Malawian, and so he didn’t have our interests at heart) didn’t do anything about. HIV, the modern scourge, is NOT the only disease that has been transmitted via this practice.
      And our current government’s knee jerk reaction,, in the face of international scrutiny, is NOT commendable. What would be advisable is to revamp all the despicable practices, not just “fising”, that expose young girls to sanctioned rape! Yes, RAPE; that is what it is.
      And the President hogging the limelight here! He could have quietly have had someone lodge a civil or criminal complaint: and have the Police start the process of prosecuting this case. Aaaaaa.
      “Fising” is NOT practiced in my home area. True and good. But my concerns go beyond just my home area. Think of the number of your girls who have been sexually abused thru this cultural malpractice, among others!

    4. Aniva says:

      1. We dont care what you are doing overseas as you are not the only one.
      2. Your talk is cheap.. who cares about what your chances?
      3. We dont care whether you are overseas or you are closer to who?
      in short ulibe nzeru kawerengenso mabuku a darwin.

      1. Student says:

        I never said anybody cares about anybody or anyone’s whereabouts here. Did I? Clearly, you are an envious fool. And if you ever have something that resembles a brain, then you are yet to activate it. Munthu otuwa ngati iweyo nkumayankhulanso mwaufulu chomchi? The only thing you know,if ever you have been to school is the Chichewa book you have quoted yet nkumakamba ngati mmutu mo muli kanthu? Indeed, “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools speak beause they have to say something.” – Plato

  12. Tikondane says:

    Inu makolo omwe mukutumizabe kusimba ana anu, mukuwona zomwe mukuchita kwa ana anu? Munthu wamkulu ngati ameneyu zoona adzikakugonerani ana anu. Inu simutha kulangiza ana anu zoona? Kupusatu kumeneku. Ingoganizirani ana omwe mwawapachikitsa kumatenda a Edzi chifukwa chakupusa kwanu. Nanga bwanji azimuna awo omwe anakalowa mzimenezi osadziwa! Chonde makolo kumwera, siyani zachikalekalezi, mukuphetsa ana.

  13. C Banda says:

    ” … people thought these harmful cultural practices ended long ago.”

    Rubbish! We have been hearing about these practices all the time. It is just because the outside world has virally discovered our shame that NT is pretending that they had stopped, thinking that the foreigners will be fooled by its article.

  14. Zowazowa says:

    Arrest the President for allowing this defilement to happen and pretend that he did not know until the BBC report.
    Arrest the Minister responsible for women and children affairs
    Arrest the DHO and DCs of all these districts.
    Arrest the parents of these children. Arrest the Minister of Gender for apathy.
    Arrest every Malawian who is aware of these cultural stupidities from Chitipa to Nsanje.

  15. Okey tamva says:

    Not life imprisoned but death sentence cos he already killed the minors. So painful!

    1. Kaziulika Chimugonda says:

      With keen interest I have followed this discussion. Aniva and parents are not at fault but our cultural practices. This cultural practice is in our blood and passed on to next generation with a peace mind for those who practice it. If we say, it was abolished years ago, we are strange to the truth. Let Govt handle this issue with sober mind. Civic education can help us stop this practice. Talk to people who practice this. Hear their mind why they practice it today. I mean go into their shoes and feel with them.

  16. Trendex says:

    YOU HAVE RUSHED ON ANIVA’S CASE BECAUSE IT CAME FROM BBC REVELATION. WHY SILENT ON THE SEVEN CABINET MINISTERS INVOLVED IN CASHGATE SYNDICATE? THE JUDGES OF MALAWI DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DELIVER JUSTICE AND I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THEY OBTAINED THEIR LICENCES. YES ANIVA WILL BE SENTENCED BECAUSE BECAUSE THE SENTENCE IS A BRITISH MAN DUBBED AS A BRITEX NOVICE. HOW I WISH THE NEXT GROUP TO BE NETTED SHOULD BE THE SEVEN CABINET MINISTERS WHERE THE PRESIDENT SEEMS VERY INTERESTED IN BACKING THEM. ALSO HYENA ISSUE IS HAPPENING IN GOLIAT-THYOLO BUT WHY NSANJE ONLY. IS IT BECAUSE BBC BEAMED ANIVA AND HIS VILLAGERS? SHAME TO MBC AND BBC FOR BEING UNPROFESSIONAL IN THEIR DEALINGS. ANIVA HAS DONE A BAD THING INDEED BUT SELECTIVE JUSTICE IS WHAT I WANT TO DEMONIZE. LIFE IMPRISONMENT IS JUST AS SAME AS KILLING WHICH THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO DEFEND THE ALBINO KILLERS AS ATTESTED BY KALINDO, MP. EVEN IF WE NET ANIVA, SECRET CULTURAL PRACTICES WILL NOT COME TO AN END. MCP 2019 AND NET ALL THE SEVEN INCLUDING PITALA AND THE MID-NIGHT SIX.

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