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    CDEDI pens MHRC to investigate ‘mysterious deaths’ involving refugees and asylum seekers


    By Iommie Chiwalo

    With a trace of sequence of events surrounding investigations and progress of mysterious deaths especially of foreign nationals, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has written Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to institute an enquiry.

    In a letter addressed to MHRC Executive Secretary, Habiba Osman, CDEDI wants progress on how the Malawi Police Service (MPS) is handling matter of mysterious deaths involving refugees and asylum seekers, a case in point being the recent killing of Emmillie Halimana Noel, who at first was reportedly to have died of road accident but later on through postmortem discovered that it was strangulation.

    “Hence our resolve to write your good office to step in and call for a public inquiry over the matter. It is also important to put it on record that it is not the first case the MPS have handled which has raised eye brows, especially cases of victims connected to countries such as Rwanda and Burundi,” reads a letter signed by CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa.

    He went on to give an account of previous circumstances whereby on December 12, 2015 a 32-year-old Jean Claude Gasana another Lilongwe based businessperson from Rwanda was killed at Discorium entertainment joint but till now nobody has been taken to task yet.

    Further to that Namiwa reccounts that on July 10, 2017, unidentified gunmen shot dead another businessperson at Puma filling station in Salima before attempting on a life of another Malawian of Rwandan origin businessman Vincent Nyiongera who survived the attack albeit wounded.

    Another Malawian of Rwandan origin Romeo Mukisa 30, who until his death was plying his trade in Area 25, on November 11, 2018 died in a mysterious accident at Wullian Shop close to Bwaila Hospital after the car he was travelling in allegedly plunged into a very shallow drainage on his way home from Rwandan Diaspora meeting that was held around Malangalanga in

    “Madam, you may wish to note that these are just a few cases out of the many cases that go neither unnoticed nor unreported like was the case at hand where the suspect, who was the driver for the deceased, did not report
    the matter to any police station despite the alleged death. It is strange that we do not have anyone serving a jail term in connection to such cases involving the same compatriots. If this is not a glaring coincidence, then your office should find a better word to describe the same,” reads the letter.

    Since the right to life is a fundamental right, CDEDI developed interest to follow the matter and managed to stumble over a preliminary postmortem report that rules out the assertion that Emmillie Halimana Noel died as a result of the alleged car accident.

    “To say the least, the way the MPS is handling the matter leaves a lot to be
    desired and to put it bluntly, they have crossed the line and are shamelessly shielding suspects connected to the death. Thus far, the MPS have rearrested Raffik Munyamagaju in connection to Emmilie’s death, only when it is clear that going by sequence of events, the heinous incidences and events could not be carried out by a single person,” says Namiwa.

    Adding that it is shocking to note that the police have all the leads to the master-minders of the whole thing but they are using every trick in the book to avoid effecting arrests.

    “This is a deliberate ploy to let the matter die a natural death or futile attempt to frustrate the bereaved family to give up on letting justice to be served,” says the CDEDI Tsar.

    Taking into account the current prevailing circumstances, CDEDI believes that Malawi is currently sitting on a ticking bomb hence the call for public hearing that will
    generate vital information to quell the situation and ensure that justice is served for all, starting with the case at hand and the many others where lives were needlessly lost.

    “We at CDEDI would like to believe that the MPS owes Malawians an explanation as to why they find it difficult to investigate and arrest the suspects, given the glaring trail of evidence in such cases,” he said.

    Namiwa says issues of national security are just adding on the list of current crises such as forex, fuel, electricity, acute shortage of essential drugs and medical supplies, and more recently food and
    fertilizer scarcity.

    “To put it blatantly, Malawi is no longer a safe haven to an extent that millions are living in fear not only due to the increase in crime rate but rather the conduct of the bad apples that seem to have hijacked the otherwise professional and highly trained Malawi Police Service (MPS). Imagine a suspect on remand at Maula Prison living in fear for his own life!,” he added.

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