Mutharika says new sex crime law to crackdown on ‘hyenas’ in Malawi

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: This nonsense must stop

Mutharika: This nonsense must stop

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.

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10 thoughts on “Mutharika says new sex crime law to crackdown on ‘hyenas’ in Malawi”


  2. C Banda says:

    “I thought it was clear he was violating the law by sleeping with the girls under 13.”

    Is the President unaware that the current penal code criminalises sleeping with girls who are 15 or under?

  3. Chimunthu says:

    Ritual cleansing and child marriages have been going on in Malawi for many generations. Why has it taken until now to tackle these abuses? Do those who govern Malawi not know what goes on in their own country? Are they so busy enjoying the good life that comes with being an MP or President that they forget all about the primitive practices that go on at village level? Malawi has signed up to the UN Charter on Human Rights and it is about time it honoured its commitment by tackling all forms of abuse of human rights in the country instead of waiting until they become the focus of attention for other countries outside Malawi. Rather feeling proud to be legislating against these barbaric practices, APM should be ashamed that it has taken so long to do so.

  4. Trendex says:


  5. Costly Gochisale says:

    Honestly we turned a blind eye when this issue was exposed by zodiak radio. We had to wait for BBC to repeat the same issue.

  6. Ine mu diaspora says:

    MPs and ministers busy sleeping with underage girls all over the place and most of them are hiv positive but this law will not be applied on them . This is a law that will only be applied on poor men like anniva. The guise of culture is used to separate the rich men who also do same acts like Anniva.

  7. Mike Nkhoma says:

    parents too are to blame

  8. Makiyolobasi says:

    Zikakhala za the poor man ngati Mr Aniva ndiye kuthamangira action, nkumati he is bringing national shame. Akakhala Cashgate suspects nkumangonyan’gana kumbali despite all the evidence. Which laws are you going to use to prosecute Mr Aniva? Malawi Law Society, please help the poor man. To me, cashgaters have brought untold suffering and shame to Malawi than this poor man.

    1. Chimphepe says:

      Inu nde mwakambadi zoona…Palibe nkhani apa

      1. triple c says:

        Pitala!! bust addressing the useless issue!!! please address real issues on fees, economy, corruption SUPITI

Comments are closed.