Malawi’s Donors ask for probe into killing of student Activist

Ambassador Woest the Head of EU Heads of Missions in Malawi

Malawi’s main donors from the European Union have asked President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government to investigate the death of Robert Chasowa, a student activist who was found dead on campus after receiving several death threats

Chasowa, 25, was a well known critic of the Mutharika administration producing and circulating a newsletter on campus that accused the President and his cronies of corruption.

He was found dead in the early hours of September 24 after reporting several death threats, his friends and colleagues have claimed.

The EU in agreement with  its Heads of Missions  in Malawi released a statement asking for  an independent investigation into his death, a day after a pathologist dismissed claims  by police that he had committed suicide.

“The European Union is concerned about a number of recent incidents of apparently politically motivated violence in Malawi. In particular, the violent death of student activist Robert Chasowa is worrying.

We call on the authorities in Malawi to swiftly undertake an independent investigation into the circumstances leading to his death, taking into account the consolidated findings of the report of the postmortem examination,” the EU said in the statement.

Young Chasowa lies dead at campus

In the same vein, the statement said, investigations into the recent arson attacks on members of the civil society need to be accelerated and those responsible should be brought to justice.

“We urge Malawi to uphold its international human rights commitments, including those enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which remain a backbone of our cooperation.”

Southern Region police spokesman Davie Chingwalu said yesterday police have launched fresh investigations following the post-mortem results.

Police had earlier gone public claiming that the young activist had committed suicide by jumping from an eight meter height from one of the buildings at the college.

The EU member countries like Britain, Malawi’s major bilateral donor, and German, are already withholding about US$400 million in aid to Malawi over human rights and governance issues.

Britain is withholding aid to Malawi pending a review of its ties after the mutual expulsion of diplomats in April this year

The United States, which is not part of the EU, also withdrew a $350 million grant for Malawi’s dilapidated electricity network after 20 protesters were killed in the July 20 mass demonstrations.