Malawians will have to endure the pain of waiting before they know the truth behind allegations that former president Professor Peter Mutharika and his ex-aide Hetherwick Ntaba were involved in the murder of a man with albinism in Machinga, MacDonald Masambuka.
On July 1, 2022, former DPP Dr. Steven William Kayuni directed the Inspector General of Police to begin criminal proceedings following some testimonies during Masambuka’s case.
But two years down the line, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has not yet received a report on police investigations to facilitate prosecution of the case.
During the trial, former police officer Chikondi Chileka, who was handed a 30-year custodial sentence and Alfred Yohane, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, on several occasions alleged that Mutharika and Ntaba were behind the plot to kill Masambuka.
Chileka and Yohane’s testimonies compelled then presiding High Court Judge Zione Ntaba to recuse herself from the case in May 2019, citing the inclusion of her uncle’s name Heatherwick Ntaba in the case as the reason.
This prompted Kayuni to director the office of the Inspector General of Police to launch investigations to substantiate the allegations.
He said: “during the testimony and actual judgment, names of Messrs. His Excellency Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika [former President of the Republic of Malawi] and Dr. Hetherwick Ntaba, then presidential adviser and chairperson of the National Task Force on Persons with Albinism, were now and again mentioned as having a part in the allegations.”
He further observed that former High Court judge Dorothy NyaKaunda Kamanga, now a Justice of Appeal, wondered in her judgment why no investigations were undertaken to substantiate the said allegations against Mutharika and Ntaba.
Kayuni directed: “In accordance with the law, the directorate is of the opinion that criminal investigations be instituted against the said allegations and references made by the High Court judgement.
“Further to this, possible charges are as follows: (a). Causing one to harm a person with a disability (killing), (b). Causing someone to harm one with a disability (extraction of tissue), (c). Transacting in human tissue. It is our hope that the acts herein will be investigated swiftly so as to address the wrongs allegedly committed.”
Kayuni once told journalists that persons with albinism are people too, and that they deserve utmost protection.
“We await what investigations will come up with, on this crucial matter,” he said then.
But in our follow-up interviews with the office of the DPP, the new Director of Public Prosecutions, Masauko Chamkakala, said his office is waiting for the police to finalize its investigations before it starts prosecuting the case.