Eric Aniva, the Nsanje ‘hyena’, is alleged to be involved in an evil act.
Let me repeat: Mr Aniva—a father and a husband has allegedly defiled and spread HIV and Aids to so many innocent daughters of other people.
He has stolen innocence away from so many young girls that, given the opportunity, could have, one day, ended up remarkable women like Joyce Banda, Jane Ansah, Michelle Obama, Sophie Sikwese and many more.
It is not that this is the first time I have heard of people like Aniva. As a journalist, I have read, heard, seen and written so many stories about this fisi practice, but, I should admit, we local journalists failed, though we tried, to create the hype generated by that BBC story.
That is why—despite some arguments here and there by some who enjoy State antics than substantive issues—I congratulate the BBC for the story and, most importantly, President Peter Mutharika for intervening.
In this whole story, I feel what is of paramount importance, something I consider a shared goal, is to arrest the criminal acts of evil people like Aniva.
By ordering the arrest, President Mutharika was only sending a right message at the right time that defiling girls is a criminal act that should be followed by an arrest.
Of course, Edge Kanyongolo, a legal mind I dearly respect and admire, was right, as an erudite constitutional lawyer and its watchdog, to remind us that, whatever the case, the President should operate within the dictates of law.
We heard you professor, but, in the case of Aniva, I support the ‘order’, constitutional or unconstitutional, because, given the hype, had to send a strong message.
Perhaps, the President, I assume, was also trying to remind our sleeping police that those indulging in fisi are breaking the law. They must be pursued, arrested and duly presented to their best in our competent courts of law.
Well, there, again, has been an argument about culture in the debate. I have heard some saying Aniva was only a conduit of cultural processes, as such, the arrest, being targeting a person, was misplaced. To mean, we do not need to reform Aniva, but the harmful culture that breeds people such as Aniva.
I find that argument valid, but not sound. Or a bit dry, if not rubbish.
Look here fellow Malawians, no one can stand up, today, and claim not to be aware of what constitute ‘harmful cultural practices’. Even Aniva.
These people, and everybody who indulges in the practice, are aware that times have changed. Those acts, in this age of competing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and girl’s rights, are obsolete. They just do not have a space.
The reason evil people such as Aniva, and a host of some evil traditional leaders, still engage in them is not because they are trying to preserve a way of life, an expectation—what we consider to be ‘culture’.
Rather, driven by chauvinistic and patriarchal advantage and privilege, they perpetrate such practices because they are the beneficiaries. Period!
That is why, as a short-term measure of eradicating such practices, we need to be pragmatic and come up with resolute actions that, in the first place, should target people who perpetrate such evil because they are beneficiaries. They are wrong, they are heartless and they are selfish. On a larger scale, they are the misfits of society and, put it bluntly, agents of sustaining poverty in Malawi. They should be pursued, apprehended and thrown into jail.
You see, as a father of a beautiful daughter, Wezzie, and also as a journalist, I have a fatherly burden to ensure that our daughters, not just Wezzie, are safe and are given the opportunity they need to rise the social ladder.
I am a keen believer of girl’s education. I have seen, experienced and lived the truths of girls’ capability when educated. This is the reason I get mad at people like Aniva and everybody who think like him.
Surely, I should, again, congratulate President Mutharika for acting swiftly. That is leadership. These ‘hyenas’ are a menace to society. They must be locked up. n