HRCC demands progress on Chasowa inquiry, arson attacks

The Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC)  has  demanded justice to be served on the investigations into circumstances leading to the death of Polytechnic engineering student Robert Chasowa last September who may have been killed due to his anti-government activism.

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika announced that an enquiry into the death will commence but there has been no progress on the matter so far.

HRCC Vice Chairperson Mrs. Magret Ali and acting National Coordinator Reverend Macdonald Sembereka said in a media statement made available to Nyasa Times that government should provide “an update on the progress” of the inquiry into Chasowa death.

Sembereka: Demands justice

Chasowa—was chairperson of a student activist group, Youth for Democracy, which was allegedly printing a weekly anti-Mutharika administration newsletter, the Weekly Political Update. He was found dead on campus on September 24 , 2011 under mysterious circumstances.

Police’s case to answer

Police ruled the death a suicide but an autopsy report indicated that he was beaten to death. Ruling DPP operatives are reported to have carried out the murder.

Youth Association for Democracy in Malawi, (YADEMA) also demanded that Malawi Police should be thoroughly probed on the death of Chasowa

The youth movement appealed to the President that the terms of reference for the Commission of Inquiry should not only be restricted to establishing the circumstances surrounding the death of Chasowa , but also on “finding out the circumstances that led to the police telling the nation that he committed suicide.”

YADEMA head, lawyer Wapona Kita said the inquiry should also find out “ the circumstances that led the Minister of Information, Hon. Patricia Kaliati to tell the nation that it is Rafiq Hajat and Undule Mwakasungula  (activists) that are responsible for his death. “

Kita said in a statement: “Those holding public office need to be accountable for the (mis)statements they make to the public since as the Constitution succinctly puts it, the exercise of their legal and political authority is to solely serve and protect our interests.”

Smoke-out report

Meanwhile, HRCC also want reports on previous incidents of attacks that were reported to both government and the Police for investigations.

“These include but not limited to; the attacks at Mr. Undule Mwakasungula’s offices, the burning of (Institute for Policy Interaction) IPI offices and the house of Rev. MacDonald Sembereka, the assault on Mr. Bisika in Zomba [and] the threats on Mr. Benedicto Kondowe .”

Investigations into Chasowa death and arson attacks on human rights defenders have also been a key demand for western donors to close their aid taps to the country.

Presidential spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba says he could not comment on the Inquiry of Chasowa.

Several commentators and activists have been demanding Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito and Commissioner for South, Rodney Jose  to resign and pave ay for investigations as they were implicated to the death of Chasowa.

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