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Government snubs Buleya Lule’s wife

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By Mandy Pondani:

The government, through the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office, has rejected a request by widow to the late Buleya Lule, Charity, asking for private prosecution of the matter regarding her husband’s death.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Pilirani Masanjala, has confirmed the development.

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Charity, on May 31 2019, wrote DPP through her lawyer George Kadzipatike of Jivason and Company asking for consent, after noting the slow progress in the matter, despite a Malawi Human Rights Commission report recommending to the Inspector General (IG) of Police that he urgently institute criminal investigations on all police officers who handled Lule from February 18 to 20 2019.

But in a letter, which we have seen, written on June 28 2019, DPP Mary Kachale has turned down the request, saying the interests of justice would be served best when DPP officers handle the matter.

She challenges that her office has the expertise to prosecute the matter, adding that the directorate has legal practitioners who are competent.

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“You are welcome to follow up with this office on this matter as a representative of the bereaved family. It is my considered view that the interests of justice will be served best when the matter is handled by officers in the directorate of Public Prosecutions. Consequently, your request has not been granted,” Kachale’s letter reads in part.

With regards to the delays in commencement of prosecution procedures, Kachale says she will engage IG Rodney Jose regarding the current status of the investigations.

She said: “Justice will be pursued by this office in the matter of the death of Buleya Lule in accordance with the law.”

According to Kachale, DPP upholds the sanctity of life; hence, it prioritises, among other cases, all cases where the evidence points to death being caused in contravention of the law.

Reacting to the letter in a telephone interview Monday, Kadzipatike said they would consult the bereaved family and map the way forward.

“The bereaved family gave us instructions to take up the criminal matter because they had noticed that three to four months had gone by without any action on the case. And one would be entitled to doubt whether any action will be taken on this matter without the involvement of the private attorneys the family had appointed,” he said.

Kadzipatike has, however, said that they would continue pursuing the matter in which Lule’s widow is demanding K250 million compensation from the government.

Lule died while in police custody on February 20 2019, two days after the police arrested him in connection with the abduction and missing of a boy with albinism, Goodson Fanizo, from Makanjira Village in Dedza District.

A forensic autopsy report by pathologist Charles Dzamalala, released on April 12 2019, showed that the primary cause of Lule’s death was electrocution.

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