Lyson Goodwin Sibande*
Early this month, Nyasatimes published an article which presented that the family of the deceased Robert Chasowa, still demand justice for the death of their son. The article quoted the father of Chasowa, saying that he needed to know the crime his son committed to deserve the brutal murder. After two weeks, Nyasatimes published another article following Honorable Kamlepo Kaluba’s response to President Mutharika’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament where he too, demanded that the DPP government must ensure that justice prevails for the death of Chasowa.
I commend Mr Kaluba for bringing the issue up, because the death of Chasowa is an issue of public interest, and until the truth is revealed and the culprits punished accordingly, Chasowa’s family shall not quit grieving and neither will the people of Malawi. However, I feel Mr Kaluba too, has a huge portion of blame to shoulder for the death of Chasowa. Those that read through “ The Chasowa Commission of Report” as it was entitled will not find my accusation unfound.
According to the Report on page 56, it was Mr Kamlepo Kaluba who was providing Robert Chasowa and his friend referred to as Alex Black Moses the anti-government materials which Chasowa and the friend were publishing. This establishes that Mr Kaluba was Chasowa’s accomplice and mentor in his antigovernment activities. Mr. Kalua also told the Commission according to Page 63 that on the night of 23rd September, 2011 – the night of his death, he spoke to Robert on several occasions, which attests that Kaluba was Chasowa’s confidante. It is in view of facts as these, that I disappointedly find the Honorable Kamlepo Kaluba guilty of luring the young innocent Chasowa’s into the trap of a heart-rending premature death.
After analysing the report, I discovered that despite being a very energetic, extraordinarily brilliant and an ambitious young man, whose rare display of bravely I shall always admire, Chasowa was a hugely confused young man, with a huge appetite for quick money, and overestimated himself.
For instance, Chasowa was confused, because being a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student at Polytechnic, his life was highly entangled in activities which were not scholarly in nature. Instead of interacting with his lecturers, or similar worthwhile intellectuals for his academics and career future, he was interacting with politicians of questionable calibre like Mr Kaluba, who could only push him on into harm’s way, without remorse.
Second, another sign of Chasowa’s confusion is that he was involved in groups that had opposing agendas. For example, on page 56 and 57, the report presents that while Chasowa was a member of Youth for Freedom and Democracy (YFD) whose agenda was to publish and distribute anti-government (Bingu Mutharika’s government) materials, he was also working with another group the New Vision Youth Organization (NVYO), which sought to work with government (Mutharika’s government) – the group wanted to “promote youth involvement in development activities. On page 57, the report shows that between June and July 2011, Chasowa had been moving around from Blantyre to Lilongwe to meet the President’s Press Officer, Mr Albert Mungomo to secure audience with President Bingu wa Mutharika about working with his government through NVYO. It is only a sign of confusion that at his age, in mid 20s he was fighting against government with one group, and then trying to support it with another.
Thirdly, page 58 of the report, presents that Chasowa who had joined patriotic Malawian in the historic July 20 mass demonstrations, changed sides and approached the very government he had demonstrated against, with a proposition to prevent second mass demonstrations which were scheduled for August 17. This time, Chasowa was in for serious money from the taxpayers’ purse, assumed 10 Million.
In, I guess late 2012 I had a talk with a certain Officer of the Malawi Police Services (MPS) who works at the Station in Wenela, Blantyre. We were discussing President Joyce Banda persistent public verbal attacks on the Police’s professionalism during Mutharika’s regime. When we tackled the issue of Chasowa, the Officer said to me, “do you know that it was Chasowa and his friends that were burning down offices of Civil Society Organizations and Civil Rights activists?” She continued, “Yes, Chasowa was collaborating with the CSO to deliberately burn their own offices.” This ofcourse is also mentioned briefly on page 14 of the Report. She revealed to me a lot more than the Report had disclosed.
The above, are just some examples which prove that Robert Chasowa needed some serious guidance about his life and future, and the Report presents that no one was well placed to guide our deceased friend in the right path, than Mr Kaluba. Instead of giving him antigovernment materials to publish, Mr Kamlepo should have refered Chasowa to other people with engineering textbooks, and other related material for this boy’s studies and career development. He should have advised and ensure that this boys spends more time in school and direct his intelligence and energy into things like academic research, or something of benefit to his future and his family that looked up to him for a future pillar of the family, considering that he was the only child that made it to the University, according to page 28 of the report. As a matter of fact, I would have loved, if Kamlepo had visited the father of Chasowa and informed him of his sons involvement in risky politics, and together they could have guided him into the right path. I believe that if Chasowa’s father had known that Chasowa spent less time on studies and was busy fighting government, and securing deals worthy millions for political activities, he would have pleaded with his son to quit at once.
As a fellow Adventist Youth, I mourn Chasowa’s death; he could have become our Church elder one day. As a youthful great fan of Malawi’s politics, I mourn the loss; he could have become our President one day. As a father of tender kids myself, I grieve together with the parents of Chasowa to demand timely justice; they will miss his support the most, when the cruel old age overtakes them. But that Chasowa lost focus on his future, and associated with the wrong people, like Kamlepo I warn that the youths of Malawi must guard their future jealously.
Finally, some criminals shall always escape justice because our world does not consider their activities as crime, but I can challenge us today, that the behaviour of encouraging innocent and brilliant youths, or even ignorant ones, to be involved in risk dirty politics is a crime and needs utmost condemnation. And that as far as am concerned, Mr kamlepo is as guilty as the actual murderer of Chasowa, because though he did not literally kill him, he indirectly drove a sharp object into his skull by encouraging and contributing to his risky activities.
*Views expressed are of the author.