Msundwe women finally get compensated as family of slain police officer Usuman Imedi still waits for justice

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi government has finally paid millions of Kwacha in compensation to 18 women who were allegedly sexually assaulted by police officers in Lilongwe’s Msundwe, Mbwatalika and Mpingu areas on October 8, 2019.

Police officers allegedly raped 13 women, defiled one girl and sexually assaulted three under-18 girls during an operation which followed the death of police officer Usumani Imedi, who was stoned by angry people in Msundwe area as they protested against the then president Peter Mutharika’s planned political rally in the area.

Women Lawyers Association (WLA) led the victims to court to demand justice and in March this year the High Court sitting in Lilongwe ordered the Malawi Police Service to compensate the women.

According to WLA President Immaculate Maluza, the government has duly paid the money as ordered by the court.

“In or around February 2020, the Women Lawyers Association (WLA) commenced civil proceedings against the Malawi Police Service (MPS), Ministry of Homeland and the Clerk of Parliament, otherwise known as the State and the Inspector General of Police. The Clerk of National Assembly and the Minister of Finance exparte, M.M and 18 others, Judicial Review Cause No.7 OF 2020 (JR Cause No.7).

“The civil matter was concluded successfully and the court ordered that MPS should pay damages to the women and girls of M’bwatalika and Mpingu. On 9th March 2021, Assistant Registrar Chimwaza sitting at the High Court Lilongwe Registry issued a ruling on assessment of damages which determined the amount of compensation payable to each applicant.

“Consequently, WLA would like to inform the public that the Government of Malawi has duly paid compensation to each of the 18 Applicants in JR Cause No.7. The payment marks the conclusion of the civil aspect of the case,” reads the statement in part.

On August 13 last year, High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda ordered the police to compensate the 18 women and arrest 17 law enforcers implicated in the matter.

Nyirenda established that the applicants were victims of sexual violence, ordering that they be compensated for the heinous acts they suffered at the hands of law enforcers.

The judge further blamed the office of the Inspector General (IG) for failing to put in place a credible system of monitoring the conduct of officers.

The IG was therefore ordered to report to the court on steps taken to investigate and arrest the perpetrators of sexual violence.

Meanwhile, Malawians are also demanding justice for the family of police officer Usuman Imedi who was brutally murdered by Msundwe mob during the protests against the ousted President Peter Mutharika.

Msundwe residents, who are obviously staunch supporters of the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP), acted in “uncivilizing” manner during the demonstrations, burning and destroying the property in the process.

Timothy Mtambo, the then Chairperson of Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), who led the protests is now dining with the incumbent President Lazarus Chakwera following his appointment as Minister of Civic Education and National Unity.

Other HRDC officials like Macdonald Sembereka and Billy Mayaya have also been rewarded with positions in embassies while businessmen who lost property during the violent demonstrations are still languishing in poverty.

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