When students murder


By Faith Kamtambe:


Like any other day, he went to work with the aim of sustaining his life. His parents and relatives back in Changota Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Masula, Lilongwe, were contented that he was now an independent person.

On that fateful night, he was sitting in his chair, guarding Mulanje Hostel for male students at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).


It would turn out to be his last hour on earth.

Gaven Fositala, 25, died on September 13 2018. Circumstances leading to his death were not ordinary. Two weeks before, Fositala, working as a guard under Masters Security Services Company at Luanar, had gone to work.

A laptop went missing from one of the rooms in Mulanje Hostel, which he was guarding.


“Students started accusing Fositala of not fulfilling his duties and started beating him. He tried to run for his life but was caught and badly beaten and some students hacked him,” his cousin, Raphael Livasoni, narrates.

Fositala was rushed to Kamuzu Central Hospital the same night but he could not survive.

“I was shocked and did not even make a follow-up on his death certificate that day. Looking at the deep cuts on his body, it was clear he had died a painful death,” Livasoni states desolately.

A student who reported that his laptop was missing later said he had found his gadget. A life had already been lost.

One of the students at Luanar, who opted for anonymity, recounts the ordeal that started like some minute drama that would eventually tail off into the night.

“Students residing in Mulanje Hostel knew that he had not stolen the laptop. It was those who joined the fray later who thought that, if he were being chased, he was a thief. It was more like a case of mistaken identity,” the student said recently.

The police managed to arrest two students who were said to have been at the centre of the attack, Harry Mhura and Wycliffe Mwanjasi. Mhura was in his second year while Mwanjasi was finalising his research project at the time of their arrest.

The two students were remanded at Maula Prison and were granted bail early this year.

“We did not receive any compensation for the brutal murder of our relation. I have been following up the matter but there seems to be no hope,” Livasoni says.

Managing Director of Masters Security Guard Services, Alfred Gangata, says what he knows is that the students were arrested and remanded at Maula Prison. He says he was not aware that the students were released on bail.

“We were waiting for the court to make its determination but our lawyer is working on the matter. The person indeed died while performing his duties but he was killed by people out of malice and he did not commit a crime; it is also a loss to the company,” he says.

Luanar Registrar, Phillip Kaonda, says the institution would summon the students for a disciplinary hearing and that it would take action after that. He also indicates he is not aware that Mhura and Mwanjasi have been granted bail.

“What I know is that the students are in custody. One of them wrote us a letter that he is still in prison and that we should reserve his place. If it is true that they are out on bail, we will summon them for a disciplinary hearing,” he says.

He adds that Mwanjasi—who had already completed his studies—might not be awarded his certificate if the outcome of the hearing does not favour that.

Lilongwe Police spokesperson, Kingsley Dandaula, says the police arrested the two students on murder charges and that their files were sent to the High Court. According to Dandaula, the students were granted bail by the High Court in Lilongwe.

Whatever the case, Fositala’s relatives—who do not know where to take the matter to for the wheels of justice to justly roll—are still failing to come to terms with the brutal murder.

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