Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu has said government is considering hiring foreign investigators to probe the death of The Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa in 2011.
He said this is because the evidence that was produced by the commission of inquiry into Chasowa’s death was not sufficient to prosecute anyone.
Tembenu said this on Thursday at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre when a delegation from taxpayer-funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) had an audience with President Peter Mutharika where it presented a brief report relating to activities of the commission as well as the highlights of the current human rights situation in Malawi.
The minister’s sentiments followed MHRC’s analysis on violation of the right to access justice where the commission said there are critical outstanding cases of national interest that continue to register protracted delays in their effective investigations and prosecutions.
The commission cited circumstances surrounding the death of Chasowa, a former fourth-year student at The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi and former Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) corporate affairs manager Issa Njauju.
“The commission has variously engaged relevant authorities on the need for action on these matters, with little or no appropriate actions on the part of such authorities,” reads the MHRC’s report.
However, speaking in an interview after the meeting, Tembenu, while accepting that the Chasowa murder is really a “very” old case, said his ministry has requested police to make arrangements for foreign investigators to come and help since the commission of inquiry on the matter bore no fruits.
“What we have done as a ministry is to request the police to make arrangements for us as a ministry, especially the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions], to invite foreign investigators to come and help us. We believe that we will make progress when we talk to those who will help us to go and investigate this matter,” said Tembenu.
On Njauju’s murder, Tembenu, who appealed to Malawians to exercise patience, said this is an ongoing investigation and the police are working on it.
“Investigations can take a year, 10 years or more, but we never stop to investigate until we get to the root of the matter. The problem we have here is that people think that within the very shortest period we will be able to get to the root of the Njauju murder,” he said
The Chasowa Commission of Inquiry which Tembenu said did not produce enough evidence indicated that the student was murdered, contrary to what police earlier communicated that he had committed suicide.
Chasowa’s body was found on the morning of September 24, 2011 lying near the Dispensary/Accounts Department at The Polytechnic. n