The donor community has expressed grave concerns about several recent incidents of “politically-motivated violence” in Malawi and asks the government to set an independent enquiry into the mysterious death of University of Malawi student activist.
Robert Chasowa, 25 – a final year Mechanical Engineering student, was found dead at the Polytechnic on campus on September 24 2011.
The European Union (EU), in partnership with heads of mission in Malawi, said in a statement: “In particular, the violent death of student activist Robert Chasowa is worrying. We call on the authorities in Malawi to swiftly undertake an independent investigation into the circumstances leading to his death, taking into account the consolidated findings of the report of the post-mortem examination.”
Police had been searching for Chasowa for publishing alleged anti-government leaflets at the time of his death.
President Bingu wa Mutharika has since promised to probe into the death of Chasowa to “find out the truth.”
Police earlier ruled Chasowa’s death was suicide but College of Medicine histopathologist Charles Dzamalala’s post-mortem report dismissed the police’s version of suicide, saying the young activist’s death was caused by assault.
The EU heads of missions also asked government to speed up investigations into the recent arson attacks on civil society members.
“In the same vein, investigations into the recent arson attacks on members of the civil society need to be accelerated and those responsible should be brought to justice,” said the statement.
The Balaka home of activist the Reverend MacDonald Sembereka was petrol-bombed and the offices of Rafiq Hajat’s Institute of Policy Interaction were also torched.
“We urge Malawi to uphold its international human rights commitments, including those enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which remain a backbone of our cooperation,” reads the statement.