By Mandy Pondani:
Charity Lule, widow to Buleya Lule, has written the government, through the Attorney General’s (AG) office, demanding compensation amounting to K250 million for the death of her husband while in police custody in Lilongwe.
Charity has also asked the police to, within seven days from May 14 2019, arrest those implicated in the death of her husband, in the latest report by Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC).
Through her lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company, Lule’s widow observes that the police tortured the deceased before his death.
In a letter which The Daily Times has seen, the money being demanded by Lule’s widow will cover damages for breach by the State of the deceased’s constitutional right to life, damages for loss of expectation of life and damages for loss of dependency.
“The sanctity of human life must be respected… Lack of care for the sanctity of human life is heinous. Although the life of the deceased was too sacred to be measured in monetary terms, we demand that the government must immediately pay the sum of K250 million to the family of the deceased as compensation for the unconstitutional elimination of the life of the deceased,” the letter reads in part.
“We demand that the police personnel who are connected to the killing of Buleya Lule, as mentioned in the report compiled by MHRC, must be arrested within seven days from the date hereof.”
MHRC, in its report, asked the Inspector General (IG) of Police to commence criminal investigations against all police officers who arrested the victim, held him for interrogation and in whose custody the victim was at his death, to determine the role they played in his death.
“These police officers include Superintendent Paul Chipole, Sub-Inspector Ikram Malata, acting Commissioner for the Central Region Police Headquarters Evalista Chisale, Inspector Ronnex Kapesa, Station Criminal Investigations Officer for Dedza Police Station, Inspector Mervin Gama and the four mobile police service officers from the C Division who escorted the suspect from the Lilongwe Principal Magistrate Court to Lilongwe Police Station after they had appeared in court,” the report reads.
When contacted, National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said they were waiting for legal opinion from the AG’s office regarding MHRC’s report but could not give reasons as to why their execution of duty is dependent on the AG’s advice in this particular case.
Kadadzera was also non-committal to comment when asked about the progress of the special investigation committee which IG, Rodney Jose, instituted into Lule’s death.
Apparently, Kadzipatike has said, should the police fail to commence the criminal prosecution proceedings against the said officers, they will apply for consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to conduct private prosecution.
“Should our application be turned down by the DPP, we will commence judicial review proceedings in the High Court of Malawi,” he said.
AG, Kelekeni Kaphale, was not readily available for a comment.
Apparently, the government has 90 days to pay the sum or face legal redress in line with Civil Procedure (Suits by or against Government or Public Officers) Act.
Lule died while in police custody on February 20 2019; two days after the police had arrested him in connection with the abduction of a boy with albinism, Goodson Fanizo, from Makanjira Village in Dedza.
A forensic autopsy report by pathologist Charles Dzamalala, released on April 12 2019, showed that the primary cause of Lule’s death was electrocution.
MHRC’s report says some police officers tortured Lule when they took him from Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court through Lilongwe Police Station to Kamuzu Central Hospital where he was pronounced dead.