Senior former ruling party officials nabbed in pre-dawn arrests over Malawi college student’s death

Blantyre, Malawi, Oct. 24 (/Newstime Africa) – Police in Malawi’s commercial capital Wednesday arrested a number of former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials in pre-dawn raids of people fingered in an inquiry into the mysterious of a 25-year-old Malawi university student. Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, was found dead on campus on September 24 last year. Police immediately dubbed it suicide and produced two suicide notes and a post-mortem report to buttress their claims. But pathologist Dr. Charles Dzamalala, who conducted the actual autopsy, contradicted them and said Chasowa was in fact bludgeoned to death. Police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa confirmed the marathon arrests. “The operation is on-going,” he told Newstime Africa Wednesday.

Blantyre Malawi

Those arrested include DPP southern region governor Noel Masangwi, DPP director of Youth Lewis Ngalande, police officer Stanford Horea, boxing promoter Mike Chitenje, DPP operatives Dofu Geoffrey Botoman, Sam Chulu, Stoni John, Frank Julius, Harry Makina, Chikondi Mwamvera, Isaac Osman, Elias Phiri and Petros Phiri. Supreme court of Appeal judge Andrew Nyirenda chaired the commission, appointed by President Joyce Banda, that also included pathologist Prof. George Liomba, retired judge Isaac Mtambo, former police chief Mary Mangwiza Manyusa, Sophie Kalimba, lawyer-cum-politician Paul Maulidi and Administrator General Annabel Mtalimanja. Inspector General of Police Loti Dzonzi said police set up five teams to investigate the death as recommended by the inquiry report. Presenting the report to President Banda, Justice Nyirenda said their inquiry confirmed that Chasowa was murdered. President Banda promised to bring to justice all those involved.

Chasowa’s group was roped in by police to thwart a repeat of the unprecedented July 20 anti-government demonstrations against the excesses of power of former president Bingu wa Mutharika. The group was detailed to infiltrate organisers of the repeat demonstrations with promises of cash payments. But later police reneged on the 10 million Malawi kwacha (over US $30, 000) deal. Chasowa vowed to get the payment come what may and threatened to reveal what he dubbed the DPP ‘dirty deals’. He started publishing vitriolic anti-government leaflets until he was found death on the college pavement. Mutharika died from cardiac arrest in April paving way to his estranged Vice-President Joyce Banda.(rt)

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