The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has launched investigations into the shooting and subsequent death of a final year Polytechnic student Blessings Nyondo in Blantyre.
The investigations started a day after Minister of Homeland Security Richard Chimwendo Banda sought assistance of the body and the Independence Police Commission to address a number of questions on the issue.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, MHRC said its desire was to uncover the truth on what circumstances led the student’s shooting.
“At the end of the exercise, justice must be served. The commission is appealing for full cooperation from all relevant stakeholders as it carries out this important assignment.
“The commission also welcomes any information that can assist in understanding the matter and coming up with an objective conclusion,” reads the statement signed by MHRC executive secretary Habiba Osman.
In an interview, Osman said the investigations follow a preliminary one conducted before Blessings’ death to understand circumstances that led to his shooting.
She said: “So, we have now decided to launch a full investigation. We have substantial evidence that there were people who witnessed the shooting. We are confident we will do this thoroughly and succeed.”
MHRC is an independent national human rights institution established by the country’s Constitution under Section 129 with the primary function of protecting and investigating human rights violations.
Nyondo’s shooting on the night of December 31 2020 near Kwacha Round in Blantyre and his subsequent death from bullet wounds last Friday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital has stirred a public outcry for justice.
This follows contradictory statements on who shot the student until Monday when it was revealed that the boy was shot twice by a Malawi Broadcasting Corporation security officer in “self defence”.
Speaking on Monday when he met MBC management, Chimwendo Banda said government will not shield anyone, adding whoever is implicated will face the law.
Reacting to the investigations, the student’s father Geatson Pascal Nyondo, in an interview from Chitipa yesterday, applauded MHRC for expressing concern and facilitating the initiative.
He said: “As a family, we are grateful that MHRC has launched an investigation into the death of my son. We hope the truth shall be laid bare and those responsible exposed.”
Nyondo, who is a security guard at Chitipa Secondary School, said Blessings was the only person they were looking up to.
Born Bonet Blessings Nyondo on March 7 1997, the student was the second born in a family of two.
He did his primary and secondary school education in Chitipa and was selected from Faith Private Secondary School in the district to pursue Electronic Computer Engineering at The Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.
Blessing’s father sold a family piece of land and a house to raise tuition fees and upkeep for his son who was a self-boarding student renting a room in the city’s Chitawira Township.
At the time of his death on January 8 2021, Blessings was set to start his final year. The 23-year-old engineering student was laid to rest last Sunday at his home village of Mwenefuvya in Traditional Authority Mwaulambia in Chitipa.