Taxpayer funded Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has expressed interest to join the Malawi Police Service (MPS) in prosecuting the Nsanje sexual cleansing case through joint prosecution or as friends of the court.
MHRC executive secretary Grace Malera, in a written response to a questionnaire yesterday, said the State human rights watchdog has already approached the MPS prosecution to strategise and see how best the two institutions can work together on the matter.
She said: “If and when the suspect is shown to have a case to answer, MHRC will work to see that the full arm of the law is brought to bear. This will also extend to all accomplices that may be implicated in the matter. The commission intends to join the case either through joint prosecution or as friends of the court.”
To that effect, Malera said the police should be given space to independently and professionally do their work beyond the hype and views coming from different quarters.
Malera stated that the commission was shocked and concerned that the suspect, Eric Aniva, had confessed to have defiled 104 children without protection while having full knowledge of his positive HIV status.
The commission has further stated that although preliminary information does not support the allegations of defilement, rape or force, it believes that certain aspects of the alleged conduct involve the commission of criminal offences for which Aniva can be prosecuted.
Malera ruled out that Aniva’s arrest could lead those practicing the cultural tradition to go underground, emphasising that such a risk could not stop the police or MHRC from acting upon an admission or allegation of criminal activity particularly one of such a serious nature that affects the wellbeing and lives of women and girls.
MHRC has since welcomed President Peter Mutharika’s condemnation of Aniva’s alleged actions.
But the commission has reminded “the President and the nation that Malawi’s prosecutorial authority lies with the office of DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions]”.
This follows a press release from State House signed by presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalirani, which said the President ordered the police to arrest Aniva then investigate and prosecute him for criminal acts which he had confessed to in the British Broadcasting Corporation interview.