Malawi’s Chasowa report: More revelations in it

The Citizen Committee on Good Governance is calling on government to act swiftly against the names of all those that have been mentioned in the commission of inquiry report on the death of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa.

The Committee together with most Malawians were shocked to learn that several individuals including former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for  the South, Noel Masangwi and the party’s director of youths Lewis Ngalande are some of the prime suspects in the murder of Chasowa.

Several DPP functionaries have also been implicated in the death of the student activist.

“The Committee would like to ask the State to act with haste, in arresting and prosecuting the people that are alleged to have taken part in killing late Robert Chasowa. Yes, the law must take its course now, and only the courts must identify the innocent from those that are guilty,” said Jonathan Mbewe, Executive Director of the Committee.

During the inquiry, it was revealed that Chasowa’s murder was state sponsored by the DPP regime and assailants were paid directly from State House and the DPP machinery.

According to the report by a commission which was chaired by  Supreme court of Appeal judge Andrew Nyirenda, sourced by Nyasa Times, there were two  groups of civilians assisted by the Malawi Police who were involved. One group was from Ndirande and  the other group was from Bangwe.  He mentioned Dolph Botomani, Sam Chulu and Amos (last name not provided)a s the Ndirande group.

Masangwi: Implicated

According to Humphrey Mvula who testifies, Botomani almost confessed to have taken part in Chasowa’s murder and that  they were working under a DPP network involving  Masangwi and Ngalande, the report reads.

Mvula also said the Bangwe group included Mike Chitenje, also known as ‘Bangwe One’ and Isaac  Osman, also known as ‘Mtopwa One’. He also said that this Bangwe group was  in a network involving Professor Peter Mutharika.

He informed the Commission that Chitenje had been paid K6  million which was paid through his First Discount House (FDH) Bank account  and that this money had been used to purchase a truck. The money had apparently come from the State House.

The report says the Commission obtained the bank statements from FDH  Bank  of Chitenje’s accounts, trading as Mulanje Last Boxing Promotions and Bangwe One Investments.

“With regard to the Mulanje Last Boxing Promotions bank account, for the  period dating from 2nd September 2011 to 2nd July, 2012, there were transactions ranging from K20,000.00 to K5 million. The Bank could not provide the deposit slips for the period 4thOctober 2011 to 30th March 2012 which are said to be  missing. The Commission was curious that the deposit slips for the 6 months were missing,” reads the report.

It also said: “The Bangwe One Investments bank account has transactions ranging from K10,000.00 to K2, 500, 000.00.

“The Commission noted that the business was registered with the Registrar General on 23rd September, 2011 and the bank account was opened on 10thOctober, 2011.”

Mvula further told the Commission that  there were also two Zimbabwean hit men who were working with the Police. He  said that  the two Zimbabweans were accommodated at Michiru Lodge and  Mkango Lodge in Blantyre.

On the fateful night Robert is alleged to have been identified by a Polytechnic lecturer Mr. Nazombe. He was then grabbed by a  team wearing KAMU Guard Services uniform.

The Commission said in the report that Chitenje testified and   told the Commission  that  Chulu,  Botomani and  Petros Tembo were  demanding K1 million and a vehicle each from Masangwi.

Chitenje wondered what kind of business they  would have done to warrant payment of such a huge sum of money. He denied  knowing Robert Chasowa and any involvement in his death.

The Commission interviewed Chulu. He denied knowing Chasowa and any involvement in his death.

Petros Tembo appeared before the Commission and denied knowledge of Chasowa and said that he was not involved in his death. He told the  Commission that he is into debt collection business. He also occasionally travels  to  the  Republic of South Africa to buy commodities for sale.

Tembo told the  Commission that he worked closely with Botomani. He also told the  Commission  that  together with  Botomani they registered a debt  collection business styled BODO Debt Collectors with the Registrar General.

He could not recall where he was in September 2011.

Interaction with politicians, police role

The Commission confirmed that Chasowa and his close ally  Black Moses interacted  with opposition leader  Kamlepo Kalua from whom they obtained materials for the  publications.

“On 18th July, 2011, according to Chasowa’s phone records and his diary, he spoke with Peter Mutharika,” the report reads.

The Commission finds that when the incident was reported to the Police  they responded promptly and went to the scene. However, it faulted Police for not making measures “to preserve the scene and  did not invite a medical examiner to examine the body before it was removed from the scene. “

The Commission further finds that the Police did not act diligently  enough.

“They did not immediately summon any of the guards who were on duty on this night for questioning. Had the Police done so, the critical  guards who are now missing would have been questioned. In that way useful information about the events of the night of 23rd – 24th September, 2011 would not have been lost,” reads the report.

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.

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

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