By Rick Dzida
Sometimes when I sit back and read some comments from some of my fellow Malawians, it makes me wonder if they use their critical minds. Most people are gullible; they readily accept anything they hear. There are lots of controversies emanating from Nsundwe rape saga in which police officers were accused of sexually abusing women and girls in the community.
The first controversy was when Dr. Lazarus MacCarthy Chakwera, the incumbent president of Malawi, held a rally in Nsundwe to thank residents for being bold enough to resist the country’s law enforcers despite knowing pretty well that a police officer, Superintendent Usumani Imedi, lost life during the clash. Many Tonse Alliance die-hards ululated and clapped hands to Chakwera for praising the notorious residents, who happen to be staunch supporters of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
The second controversy were the rape allegations which the police perpetrated on innocent women and girls of Msundwe village. It boggles my mind how the whole presidential candidate would praise the residents of Nsundwe amid rape allegations that traumatised the whole village. When quizzed on the rape allegations, the police responded that they were not able to know which police officers were deployed in the area, and which ones really were involved in such acts.
For sure, this was a cover up lie. If the police service was honest, they could have investigated the incident on time, and bring the culprits to face the law. The silence from the police prompted the office of the ombudsman through Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to investigate the matter.
Here comes the third controversy. The rape victims had not gone for medical examination as a proof of rape. So they were assisted by Women Lawyers Association to go to a private clinic where they got forged medical reports.
The fourth controversy is the compensation of huge sums of money to the women lawyers who represented the victims. The initial arrangement was that such legal services would be pro bono. Unfortunately, the gullibility of many people will entice them to accept any version of the story without critical analysis. It is a very pathetic situation. Many questions remain unanswered: 1) Why did Reverend Chakwera thank Nsundwe residents? Why didn’t he sympathise with the family of the deceased police officer, Superintendent Usumani Imedi? Wasn’t this murder saga well premeditated and executed? 2) Why didn’t the police service institute investigations promptly over murder and rape allegations? Why did they initially lie that they could not trace which police officers were deployed to Nsundwe? Why should we believe the police now that rape allegations were fake? Dont you think they are doing this just to protect the reputation of the Malawi Police Service? 3) Why did the women lawyers advise the rape victims to get forged medical reports from the clinic? Does the end justify the means?
4) Why is it that the court has the tendency of compensating colossal sums of money to claimants from our own taxes? Billions of kwachas were shared among MCP and UTM lawyers in election case with no remorse. Now we hear that over 200 million kwacha was splashed to the women lawyers who initially indicated that they were offering pro bono services. Doesn’t it remain suspicious that the court may be benefiting from such compensations too? 5) How was the family of Superintendent Usumani Imedi compensated? How does the police service ensure the safety of their employees? My only recommendation is that people should not just accept allegations without critical scrutiny. The rule of the thumb is that if there are two contradicting events, there are only two possibilities: 1) both are false 2) Only one of them is true; for sure not all of them can be true at the same time.
Views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the stand of Maravi Post