Bingu orders probe on Chasowa murder, ‘satanic’ riots

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has  disclosed that he will establish a commission of inquiry into the ‘murder’ of university student Robert Chasowa, a critic of the government and the riots that took place on July 20 national demonstrations killing 19 people.

Mutharika speaking exclusively to the BBC’s Africa Have Your Say programme on Thursday said the probe into Chasowa’s death and the riots will commence by the end of this week.

“Very soon, within the next 48 hours, we are announcing an independent commission of enquiry into all the aspects of what really happened [during the riots and Chasowa’s death],” he said.

Mutharika: Orders probe

The body of Chasowa – the fourth-year mechanical-engineering student – was found in the grounds of the University of Malawi’s polytechnic campus on September 24th and police said he had jumped to his death after leaving a suicide note.

The pro-democracy activist was wanted by police for publishing details of alleged corruption in high places. But pathologist Dr Charles Dzamalala has ruled  in an autopsy report  that his death was not as a result of suicide, a claim made by police.

Reports from the grape vine say Chasowa was killed by regime thugs in a state organised terro .

When asked by BBC  journalist Alex Jakana about the death of the student, Mutharika said government was equally concerned.

Responding to a question from a phone caller identified as Daniel, Mutharika said : “This incident happened and there are a lot of stories. We are investigating. Clearly I am concerned as a Head of State.”

“We must find out the truth and indeed if there is foul play someone has to be made to pay,” he said.

Mutharika said government will “thoroughly investigate” and stressed that “if indeed the police are at fault they will be answerable.”

On the July 20 anti-government nationwide protests which claimed 19 lives after security forces used lethal force, Mutharika said he will need answers to what let to the massacre.

He, however, said the civil society organisations which organised the demonstrations were “led by Satan.”

Mutharika also backed Police for their action in using lethal force but denied that he ordered them to shoot-to kill.

“It is totally and morally wrong to say that it is Bingu who ordered shooting of those people,” said Mutharika.

“I was as much surprised as anyone else,” he added.

Mutharika defended police action, saying: “If someone is holding a petrol bomb, someone has a gun and they are torching shops and I am asking even western media, what do you expect the police to do. Sit down and watch, while things are being burnt.”

He added: “They [Police] act within their own mandate to maintain peace and security of this country. And this is what every country in the world would do. But from here the opposition took this as issues saying this was an excessive force.”

Said Mutharika: “I want someone to tell me what is the right force when shops are being burnt. What is the right force the police can use?”

Mutharika also dismissed the dictatorship brand, claiming he is “the most tolerant person that you can think of.”

The Malawi President said “despite all these provocations, there isn’t a single political prisoner in Malawi’s jails.”

But clearly there is a reign of terror on critics and activists including burning of their properties, fake car accidents including that of the vice president Joyce Banda and political assassination like university student Chasowa.

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