Malawi Police puts Chasowa murder suspects under surveillance: Arrests looming

Malawi Police Service detectives are keeping under  surveillance student activist Robert Chasowa’s assailants and co-conspirators awaiting arrests later this week when the full inquiry report will be made public by the end of the week.

Government insiders said key suspects, who were influential in the former ruling  DPP government, are being monitored by security agents as their arrests looms.

A commission of inquiry which was chaired by  Supreme court of Appeal judge Andrew Nyirenda,  presented its report on Tuesday to President Joyce Banda , and disclosed that Chasowa, a critic of the late president Bingu wa Mutharika, was murdered and did not kill himself as police first claimed.

Government spokesman Moses Kunkuyu said “ the wheels of justice should take course to ensure that those who led the young and promising life of Robert Chasowa to a premature end should individually account for their evil deeds.”

Details of the culprits have not been given, but sources says men linked to former ruling DPP have been implicated.

Chasowa, an engineering student who was president of a youth rights group at the Polytechnic in Blantyre, which was critical of the Mutharika regime, was found dead in a pool of blood at the campus last September.

Police had initially said he had committed suicide and produced suicide notes.

“The ultimate findings of  the commission is that Robert Chasowa was murdered,” Justice Nyirenda said.

President Banda has clearly said she will ensurer the murderers or their accomplices should  “face the full force of law.”

“Let the blood of Robert Chasowa be a lesson to all, that taking human life is not a light issue,” she added, without giving details.

Informantion Minister Kunkuyu said: “The outcome of the Robert Chasowa Inquiry, and the confirmation, as many suspected, that Robert Chasowa was brutally murdered by the Bingu wa Mutharika regime, is a fresh reminder of the dark and dangerous days that the Malawi nation lived through just five months ago.”

Judge Nyirenda said the findings were based on entire testimony of witnesses, which he said “in some instances were lucid and unmistaken.”

He said the Commission “also visited the scenes of the incident and surrounding areas with some relevant sources hence assisting in the establishment of crucial facts.”

Nyirenda said a post-mortem examination report enabled the commission, which included a pathologist, “to determine, with a degree of certainty, the cause and circumstances of Robert Chasowa’s death.”

Meanwhile, two men – Geoffrey Bottoman and Peter Petros Tembo – suspected of playing a role in the murder are currently remanded at Prison.

Botomani, 28, and his accomplice Tembo,30, were nabbed by police on July 17 on allegations that they took part in the murder of Chasowa and have remained on remand since then.

The Chasowa Commissioners which included Justice Andrew Nyirenda as Chair, Retired Justice Mtambo, Prof Liwomba presenting their findings to President Banda. -Photo by Sam Makaka/Mana

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