Chakwera heeds local NGOs’ call for independent inquiry: Appeals to int’l community for support

Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has heeded calls from the local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to have an independent investigation into circumstances that led to the plane crash that killed Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima and eight others on Monday.

Chakwera has since appealed to foreign governments and international agencies to support the inquiry. He made the appeal when over 20 Heads of Missions and international agencies visited him at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the National Advocacy Plaform (NAP) – a network of civil society organizations advancing good governance, transparency and accountability in Malawi’s public service – and the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) asked President Chakwera to order an independent probe into the crash.

And barely hours after the calls, President Chakwera reached out to the international community, appealing to them to support the investigation.

“As the Malawi Defence Force begins its investigation into the cause of the crash today, I am aware that some of your governments have expertise in this area, and so I ask you to render your support,” he said, adding his government appreciates the support the foreign governments made in the search and rescue operations immediately after it was reported that the aircraft carrying the Vice-President and eight other passengers was missing.

Reacting to the development, both NAP Board Chairperson Benedicto Kondowe and HRDC National Chairperson Gift Trapence, commended President Chakwera for heeding their call, stressing that this will help in allaying fears of foul play in the crash.

Kondwe said an independent inquiry will help to allay fears and doubts on the cause of the plane crash.

“We’re happy that President Chakwera has listened to our call. And we expect the international community to play their role in this regard,” he said.

In a separate interview, Trapence expressed gratitude to President Chakwera for heeding their calls for an independent probe.

“We commend President Chakwera for this appeal. HRDC call is for the government to institute an investigation that is independent, transparent and has expertise that is consistent with international standards and also responds to all the questions that citizens are asking around the cause of the tragedy,” he said in a brief interview on Thursday.

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