An appeal case for the infamous Nsanje hyena is expected to begin soon as Justice Nyakaunda Kamanga has taken over the case from previous judge Sylvester Kalembera who recused himself from the case last October.
The High Court in Blantyre on October 10 last year failed to start hearing the case following justice Kalembera’s recusal.
Aniva who was sentenced by the Blantyre Magistrate’s Court to two years imprisonment with hard labour on charges of indulging in harmful cultural practices and an attempt to commit the same offence has about six months to complete his sentence.
Confirming the development in an interview on Thursday, registrar of the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, Agnes Patemba, indicated that the court is currently waiting for Justice Kamanga to set a date for the case.
Explained Patemba: “We operate in sessions, like from October to December, January to Easter holidays and so on and so forth. So any case that comes in the way is put on hold until the session is completed unless it is an urgent application.”
She also disclosed that the Women Lawyers Association had made an application to join the case as amicus curiae (friends of the court).
According to Patemba, the judge is therefore expected to hear the application and make a decision on whether Women Lawyers Association should join the case or not.
In his appeal application dated January 17, 2017, Aniva through lawyer Goba Chipeta indicated that the lower court erred in sentencing him as the convictions on which the sentences were based were erroneous and wrong in principle.
“The lower court held that the practice of Kulowa Kufa is a harmful practice as defined under the Gender Equality Act when there was no evidence supporting the court’s reasoning and conclusion,” reads the petition of appeal in part.
It also indicated that the prosecution had failed to prove an essential element of the offence and that the totality of the evidence before the court showed that Aniva’s conduct did not amount to the alleged attempt.
Forty six year-old Aniva was arrested on July 25, 2016 following President Peter Mutharika’s directive.
His story became popular following an interview he granted the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on July 21, 2016 in which he confessed to have slept with 104 women and girls in a form of ritual cleansing.
He hails from Tosina Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mbenje in Nsanje.