Msundwe rape probe still facing financial challenges – Capital Radio Malawi
29 May, 2024

Msundwe rape probe still facing financial challenges

The victims were raped in the aftermath of deadly anti-government demonstrations

The Independent Complaints Commission (ICC) is still waiting for resources to commence investigations into the 2019 police rape and sexual assault allegations of women and girls of Msundwe, Mpingu and M’bwatalika in Lilongwe.

This is the matter that dates back to 8 October 2019 where some women and girls of the said locations in Lilongwe accused some unknown police officers of rape and sexual harassment in the aftermath of deadly anti-government demonstrations.

Following these allegations, police instituted its own investigations and the results dismissed the claims while Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) investigations established that the police assaulted 3 under aged girls, raped 13 women and defiled one girl.

Later, the ICC was tasked to handle the investigations and its commissioner Christopher Tukula said they had given government a K65 million special budget for this case which was approved but never provided.

“When we were starting our operations, a lot of people expected this matter to be a priority and the government pledged its commitment in providing the resources. We presented our budget which was approved but the resources were never provided to us,” narrated Tukula.

He said the commission, later sort help from some partners who agreed to finance the investigations but could not reach the initial budget which forced them to trim it to K30 million and are yet to receive.

According to Tukula, the new investigations need special handling considering that they are victim centred, gender sensitive and that the matter is old.

While indicating that the fresh inquiry could take three months, the ICC commissioner hints that the institution is courting various partners to finance the same.

“Am pleased that so far, we have recruited investigators to tackle this case and we have also finalised the investigation plan. What is remaining is the money. Once the finances are in, we will carry out the task and finalise it in 3 months,” added Tukula.

Meanwhile, chairperson for defense and security committee of Parliament Salimu Bagus said the fresh investigations are very important as the nation needs to know the truth of the matter.

He said; “It is worrisome that police officers that are entrusted to protect the law in some cases are the ones in the forefront breaking the same.”

In August 2020, the High Court in Lilongwe ruled in favour of the women and ordered police to compensate them and ensure that the men in uniform who were involved in the malpractice face the law.

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