The Malawi Police Service (MPS) yesterday pledged to set up an inquiry into the death in police custody of Buleya Lule, a key suspect in the abduction of a boy with albinism.
MPS Commissioner George Kainja, responsible for planning, research and reforms, said in an interview in Blantyre yesterday at the end of a two-day Public Affairs Committee (PAC) interfaith meeting that the police will ensure the truth on Lule’s death is known.
While the police had earlier indicated that Lule, who died on February 21 this year, had died of natural causes, an independent post-mortem commissioned by the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) and conducted by pathologist Charles Dzamalala showed he died of electrocution.
Kainja yesterday said the independent post-mortem report is now in the hands of Inspector General of Police Rodney Jose.
He said: “When a suspect dies in custody, procedure demands that an inquiry be instituted. There is no doubt that an inquiry will be carried out. There will likely be an inclusion of independent bodies such as the Malawi Law Society (MLS) and Apam.”
Kainja said the police were determined to ensure that any officer found to have taken part in the suspect’s death is taken to task.
Former Apam president Overstone Kondowe, who is now the body’s national coordinator, in an earlier interview blamed the police for the suspect’s death, saying it had dealt a heavy blow on attempts to identify people who were behind a spate of abductions of people with albinism in the country.
Delegates to the conference, among other things, asked the police how Lule was found dead while in police custody.
Last month, the Police Service Commission said it did not have powers to investigate the death of Lule, who allegedly offered to buy a 14-year old boy with albinism Goodson Makanjira for K800 000 in Dedza District.
This was after the Human Rights Defenders Coalition asked the commission to probe the matter.
PAC chairperson the Reverend Dr Felix Chingota in a separate interview said the conference had given delegates an opportunity to interrogate issues that were critical to the public discourse as the country glides towards the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
He said earlier PAC has put in place conflict management interventions should challenging scenarios emerge in the elections.
The meeting was held under the theme Promoting a Common Understanding Among Faith Leaders on the 2019 Electoral Process.