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MHRC recommends ex-MBC boss’ arrest

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TWEA—The board should reinstate the survivor

Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has recommended that former Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) director general Aubrey Sumbuleta be arrested on suspicion that he sexually harassed female employees.

MHRC has also recommended that MBC security officer a Mr Chanunkha be arrested for allegedly shooting and causing the death of The Polytechnic student Blessings Nyondo.

MHRC Gender and Women’s Rights Committee Chairperson Stella Twea said they found Sumbuleta culpable after investigating sexual assault allegations.

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She said 10 witnesses, including former and current female employees, as well as two former MBC board chairpersons, testified before the commission.

‘‘The commission has therefore recommended that the survivors should— through any lawyers of their choice and, if they cannot so afford, Women Lawyers Association or Legal Aid Bureau— pursue civil action for compensation against Sumbuleta for sexual harassment they suffered at his hands.

“The board should reinstate the survivor who ended up retiring because of the unfavourable environment that was created following the sexual harassment,’’ Twea said.

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She added that police should institute criminal investigations, under the Gender Equality Act and other provisions, into sexual harassment allegations against Sumbuleta and that the commission will follow up on the issue at the end of July 2021.

MHRC said evidence gathered showed that Sumbuleta sexually harassed the four complaints and therefore violated rights of the complaints.

On the alleged shooting of Nyondo, MHRC Civil and Political Rights Chairperson Baldwin Chiyamwaka said they established that Chanunkha did not exercise due diligence in committing the act as there was a chance of apprehending the victim first.

Chiyamwaka said findings reveal that Nyondo was, indeed, a The Polytechnic student.

The commission has, among other recommendations, asked Malawi Police Service (MPS) Inspector General to institute criminal proceedings on the matter as, since the incident occurred, Mr Chanunkha has not been arrested.

He also said MBC acting Director-General Aideni Gumeni should proceed with disciplinary processes against Chanunkha, adding that the same should apply to police officer, a Nambazo, through MPS.

He said the family of Nyondo should also seek legal remedies on the matter.

MBC Board Chair Rev Vascos Kachipapa said the institution would do as recommended by the commission.

Phillip Mkandawire, cousin to the late Nyondo, expressed satisfaction with how the commission handled the matter, adding that family members were looking forward to seeing relevant institutions complimenting the recommendations.

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