Malawi’s key donors to issue statement on Chasowa’s death

Donors want answers from him

Malawi’s main donors want President Bingu wa Mutharika’s administration to investigate the death of university student activist Robert Chasowa   and bring his killers to justice, a senior diplomat in Lilongwe said on Thursday.

The diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity said that the European Union member countries in Malawi will shortly be issuing a statement on the violence and the death of Chasowa.

“We initially did not have a basis but now we do after the postmortem report and therefore we want to remind government that human rights are an integral part of getting budget support,” said the diplomat

Chasowa, 25, a fourth year engineering student, was found dead on campus in the early morning hours of September 24. Many believed then that his activism may have led to his death but Police quickly went to the media with copies of a suicide note purportedly written by Chasowa.

Police claimed that the student had committed suicide by jumping from an eight meter tall building on campus qouting a postmortem report which they said was done by Dr Dzamalala.

But in a twist of events, Dr Dzamalala has come out and differed with police. “Based on the isolated nature of the fresh injuries to the head and the rest of the body spared of these fresh injuries, its is my opinion that these injuries are most likely due to assault to the heard rather than a fall,” Dzamalala said

Information emerging show that senior ruling party members had a hand in the dealth of the young student activist.

It has also emerged that Chasowa had close links to some civil society leaders in Blantyre and the United Democratic Front (UDF) the former ruling party.

“This annoyed the DPP because they suspected that he was being used by activists and the UDF…in short he became a political opponent of the DPP,” said one of the investigators looking into why he was killed.

Chasowa and his colleagues authored a newsletter which asked President Bingu wa Mutharika to explain why Paladin Africa Limited banks $100,000 into his Australian bank account every month. Paladin Africa Limited is an Australian firm mining uranium in northern Malawi.

Chasowa also asked the President to explain why the Private jet has been impounded and reminded him that the youths were going to make sure that he is arrested when he gets out of office in 2014.

The donors have suspended close to a billion dollars to aid dependent Malawi. The first country to suspend aid was German government due to concerns over new laws that penalize homosexuality between women and allow the government to expand its control over the media.

The  U.S.A based Millennium Challenge Corp. also withdrew the signing  USD350.7 million energy grant over new laws that undermine human rights.

Britain, Malaw’s main bilateral donor, got furious and suspended aid after government expelled British High Commissioner over a leaked cable which described President Mutharika as autocratic.

The Malawi Human Rights Commission has commissioned an investigation into the death of the young man after which they intend to make their findings public.

In an interview with the Nation newspaper, Chairman John Kapito said that the Commission is seeking a court authorisation to open an inquest into the death of Chasowa  and exhume the body and conduct another postmortem.