Malawi

Democracy an expensive business - Malawi court

Malawi’s judicial decision that the country’s ‘Tippex’ election be re-run, has survived its first crucial challenge. The original dispute, heard as a constitutional matter by the high court, concerned the validity of national polls held in May 2019. Earlier this month, five judges ordered that the elections be held again because of widespread irregularities including the blanking out of official records with correction fluid.

 

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There could never have been any doubt that President Peter Mutharika and Malawi's electoral commission would appeal against the high court's finding that the May 2019 elections were invalid. Far too much is at stake for them meekly to have given in and obeyed the court without any challenge.

Malawi police will be investigated for suspect's torture death

The Malawi Human Rights Commission this week released a report finding police responsible for the death, by torture, of a man unlawfully arrested on suspicion of being involved in the abduction and killing of a child with albinism. This is just the latest development in the horror of Malawi's increasingly endangered albino people, murdered for their body parts to satisfy occult beliefs, and it follows just days after a high court judge passed the death sentence on the convicted killer of a man with albinism (see separate story below).  

Read report by the Malawi Human Rights Commission

Goodson Fanizo, 14, a Malawian child with albinism, was abducted on 13 February 2019. Although six suspects were picked up by police, neither the child nor his body has yet been found. However, one of the last of the suspects to be arrested, Buleya Lule, 44, died just days after he was taken into custody by police.

'Devilish', 'primitive' murder of man with albinism warrants death sentence – Malawi judge

The last court-imposed execution was carried out in Malawi during 1992. Some 15 people were on death row at the end of 2017, and though the number has increased since then there have been no further hangings. However, the question of whether the death penalty will ever actually be carried out has now been given a new urgency, following the sentence of a man convicted for murdering a fellow villager with albinism in the apparent belief that this would make him rich.

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In his life, Mphatso Pensulo, 19, may not have been well known outside his home village of Mulonda. His gruesome death, however, has made his name famous throughout the world.

From Japan to South America, the media has carried stories about his murder and the conviction and subsequent sentencing of his killer, Willard Mikaele, 28. What has made Pensulo’s name so well known is the fact that this was a young man with albinism, and was killed because of that simple fact.

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