As the direction of the Robert Chasowa Commission of Inquiry still remains cloudy, .about three months after its report was released, another controversy has arisen. The family of a dead police officer who was mentioned as having participated in the killing of the student is up in arms.
The family says their kin died in 2006, long before the Chasowa saga, which only started with his killing on September 24, 2011.
The family is distressed upon discovery that the deceased was mentioned in the inquiry report as having played a role in the murder and would like to seek redress.
Politician Humphrey Mvula, who volunteered to testify during the inquiry, told the commission that officers from Malawi Police Service (MPS) helped two groups in the murder of Chasowa.
According to the report, Mvula mentioned Sub Inspector Harry John Yuda as one of the police officers that assisted civilians in carrying out the murder of the then fourth-year mechanical engineering student at the Polytechnic.
Incensed by the naming of their kin who died almost five years before, the family recently went around inquiring if there was another police officer answering to the name Yuda, at least in the Southern Region, but found out there was none.
Fales Yuda, daughter of Sub Inspector Harry John Yuda, says the family is upset and looking for legal redress because their father died a man of integrity with no criminal record after serving MPS for more than 20 years.
Southern Region Police Headquarters spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa confirmed in an interview that Sub Inspector Yuda died in 2006 while serving in Zomba.
Said Gondwa: “I have made inquiries, there is no other Yuda in the Southern Region serving in the Malawi Police Service. We don’t know how his name came up at the inquiry; it’s unfortunate.”
Mvula, when told about the development, said he got the information about Sub Inspector Yuda’s involvement from a third party source, an ex-police officer. But efforts to get to Mvula’s source proved futile.
Chairperson of the Chasowa Commission of Inquiry, Judge Andrew Nyirenda, when called last week, said he was legally not entitled to make any further comments on the report after submission to the President.
The Yuda family is meanwhile appealing to the authorities that can offer help. Fales Yuda says the Malawi Law Society (MLS), which was initially approached for help, referred the family to the Attorney General (AG).
MLS president John-Gift Mwakhwawa admitted being approached but said he referred the family to the AG because he is government’s chief legal adviser, and for that reason, adviser to the commission of the inquiry.
Newly-appointed AG Anthony Kamanga said he is not aware of the issue but has advised the family to formally write to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
Fales said the family is appealing to civil society organisations to help with the process.
The commission of inquiry recommended to the police to further investigate the death of Chasowa, a youth political activist, who was murdered and found dead on September 24 last year at the Polytechnic campus.
Several senior members in the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and some police officers were mentioned and arrested in connection with the murder, but were later released on bail.