Three local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have presented the brutal murder of former Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director of corporate affairs, Issa Njauju, to the African Commission on People’s Rights as one of several issues that the commission should pay attention to in assessing Malawi’s human rights record.
Njauju was brutally murdered over two years ago and while his body was found half buried behind the presidential villas in Lilongwe, his official car was burnt to ashes at Mtsiriza Township in the city’s western part.
It is alleged that his murder was linked to his job at ACB.
Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and Youth and Society (YAS) yesterday presented the petition to the 62nd Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on Njauju and other issues.
In the petition—made available to The Daily Times— the three CSOs say that they are also worried that justice on the death of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa may never prevail just as might be the case with Njauju.
The CSOs said that while Commissions of Enquiries were established to examine the circumstances and details of the extrajudicial killings, no tangible results have come to light “although the commissions released reports that linked some senior political and public officials.
“Malawi Government commenced investigations and initiated arrests for the suspects. It is disappointing that up to date justice has not been delivered and there is no political will to conclude these cases,” reads the petition. “Malawians are worried whether the Robert Chasowa and Issa Njauju cases and even the July 2011 killings will see justice because these cases had a lot of political linkages as revealed by inquiry reports.”
The CSOs claim that lack of political will to address the matters is due to the fact that they happened during the ruling party that is in power now.
“We, therefore, call upon your honourable office to impress upon the Malawi government as a matter of urgency to bring the alleged perpetrators to book regardless of their political affiliations and status,” the CSOs say in the petition.
The CSOs further argue that there is suppression of media freedoms, freedom of expression and assembly and threats to human rights defenders and private media houses.
They claim that during preparations for last Friday’s anti-government demonstrations, they received death threats through anonymous phone calls, social media and violence threats through the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).
“Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) also tried to block the demonstrations organisers from airing on radio demonstrations messages. Macra reprimanded two private media houses namely Times and Zodiac radio stations for airing the demonstrations messages,” the petition says.
It is unclear if there has been any commitment from the commission to act on the issues.
Previously, the government officials, often led by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, have also made their human rights presentations at the session, recommitting to improve problems highlighted by CSOs.
However, according to the organisations, things are not changing.