Malawian President Peter Mutharika has said government will introduce a tougher legistlation to crack down on sex predators including those practising traditional ritual cleasing ceremonies.
Mutharika said on BBC Focus on Africa program that his government has taken strong action following a report of the Nsanje man who confessed to defiling young girls and sleeping with widows when he was HIV positive as part of a traditional ritual cleansing ceremony.
“This kind of practices is unacceptable,” Mutharika said in BBC interview.
He was reacting to Eric Aniva who confessed that he had sex with scores of women and young girls.
President Mutharika – who ordered the man to be arrested – said to track the problem more effectively, he has instructed Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu to draft a legistration to curb the sex abuses.
“When I heard about this I was shocked and I called the police and advised the police to arrest this man but he was already arrested by the local police because I thought it was clear he was violating the law by sleeping with the girls under 13,” said Mutharika to BBC Africa’s Anne Soy.
Last year, Malawi banned child marriages and raised the legal age to marry from 15 to 18.
To end the harmful cultural practices of “sexual cleansing” in Malawi, the President said a new bill will be tabled to put laws against sex crimes.
“I have instructed the Minister of Justice to start preparing a draft paper which will form a base of legistaion which will be presented before the cabinet and then we will have new legislation governing some of these [cultural] practices,” said Mutharika.
He said chiefs have condemned the harmful cultural practices as unacceptable.
“So we will be dealing with it and I expect the next session of parliament in November that we will have this legislation ready,” the Malawi leader said.
Mutharika also defended his decision to order the arrest of the Nsanje ‘Hyena’ despite criticism from a constitutional law expert and associate professor of law at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima), Edge Kanyongolo, who feared abuse of power by the President .
“It was a wise decision for this man to be arrested and be investigated,” Mutharika said on BBC.
Kanyongolo argues that the Malawi Constitution and Police Act do not give the President powers to interfere with the operation of independent agencies like the police.
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale however defended the President for ordering Aniva’s arrest and subsequent investigation to be followed by his prosecution for the acts, arguing that powers to arrest rest with the Executive, police and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which the President heads.
Aniva, who has got two wives and five children, claimed on BBC he is paid from $4 (about K2 900) to $7 (about K5 075) each time he performs his fisi [hyena] duties.
An article featuring Aniva went viral on social media.
Aniva faces charges of defiling children and exposing them to HIV.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :