Malawi student activist was murdered says inquiry

Young Chasowa lies dead at campus last year
Malawi’s student activist, Robert Chasowa, who was found laying dead on campus last year, was murdered, an official investigation into his death revealed on Tuesday.

”The ultimate finding that the commission has made is that Robert Chasowa was murdered,” said Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry, Justice of Appeal, Andrew Nyirenda.

The findings puts to rest claims by police that he had committed suicide. The report was presented to President Joyce Banda at State House in Lilongwe on Tuesday morning.

His death irked human rights activists local and international. Western donors led by Britain demanded that government investigates his death and punish the culprits. The donors went on to suspend budget support in protest.

“All those responsible for the murder of the student “should face the law. We will leave nothing undone to ensure that justice is not only done but also seen to be done,” said  President Banda after she received the report.

“Let the blood of Robert Chasowa be a lesson to all, that taking human life is not a light issue,” she added.

Former Inspector General of Police Mukhito admitted to recruiting Chasowa and his friends to help stop protests against after the unprecedented July 20 rallies.

Justice Nyirenda said  he could not preempt the contents of the report because “it  is disheartening and disturbing.”

“Only four people came out voluntariry to testify,” said Nyirenda, adding “The rest of the witnsesses we had to summon them. Finally we were able to interview 94 witnesses together.”

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.”

The report will be made public by the end of the week.

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