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HRDC turns to UN over Issa Njauju murder

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HIS DEATH REMAINS A MYSTERY—Njauju

Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has said it will petition the United Nations (UN) and other international agencies to impose sanctions on Malawi and other top government officials for their alleged lack of interest in concluding investigations into the murder of then Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) director of corporate affairs, Issa Njauju.

HRDC Vice- Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said the application for sanctions will be extended to other homicide cases such as that of Lule Buleya, a key witness in the abduction of a boy with albinism in Dedza District and the late Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student at The Polytechnic.

Trapence believes there is a deliberate ploy by authorities to trample on homicide investigations linked to top government officials.

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“The problems is that some top officials are being mentioned in the inquiry and that is why we have been saying that for this issue to move with speed, there is need for the police to be professional enough because the system is clearly shielding some officials involved in the murder,” he said.

Trapence urged Constitutionally mandated institutions like Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to join the investigations to make sure that people who are behind the murder are brought to book.

He said the death of Njauju has dented Malawi’s anti-corruption fight at the international level.

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“As HRDC, we will still push the issue because we don’t want to have impunity in this country. We will push it at UN level. We will ask UN to take action. Even if it means putting some sanctions on Malawi government, we will push for that,” Trapence said.

Almost five years after launching the Njauju investigations, National Police spokesperson, James Kadadzera, said the law enforcers are yet to make a breakthrough into the murder case.

“This is one of the complex cases we have. However, we are doing all we can to have a breakthrough in the investigations. We have some leads which are making us sure that we will soon break through,” he said.

But Kadadzera said there was no timeframe for concluding the investigations.

ACB spokesperson, Egrita Ndala, said although Njauju was an employee of the bureau, they are not mandated to investigate his murder or any other homicide case.

MHRC Chairperson, Patrick Semphere, said the commission will review the issues and come up with a position.

“We get involved after being moved or by our own volition. So we will look at it [Njauju murder] and view its merits and demerits before taking action,” Semphere said.

Njauju was killed on July 5 2015, and his body was found half buried in Lilongwe. His official vehicle was found burnt to ashes at Mtsiriza Township in the capital city.

In 2008, local civil society organisations— Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Centre for the Development of People and Youth and Society—presented a petition to the 62nd Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on Njauju and other issues.

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