Malawi's Mutharika introduces new law in sex crimes crackdown

2016-07-28 11:59
Newly elected Malawian president Peter Mutharika signs the oath book after he was sworn in, at the High Court in Blantyre, Malawi. (Thoko Chikondi, AP)

Newly elected Malawian president Peter Mutharika signs the oath book after he was sworn in, at the High Court in Blantyre, Malawi. (Thoko Chikondi, AP)

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Lilongwe - Malawian President Peter Mutharika has announced the introduction of tougher legislation against sex offenders, in a crackdown on sex crimes in the country, Nyasa Times reports.

Speaking during an interview with the BBC, Mutharika claimed that his government would be taking strong action against so-called "hyenas" - sexual predators who are paid to have sex with young girls as part of a "cleansing" practice.

Reacting to the story of Eric Aniva, an HIV-positive "hyena" who has admitted to having sex with over 100 young women and girls, to train girls to become "good wives", Mutharika ordered the drafting of tougher legislation to curb sex abuses in the southern African nation.

"I have instructed the Minister of Justice to start preparing a draft paper which will form a base of legistaion which will be presented before the cabinet, and then we will have new legislation governing some of these [cultural] practices," said Mutharika.

Despite being harshly criticised over the arrest of Aniva, Mutharika has defended his decision, saying that it was a "wise" move to have the man arrested and investigated due to sexual misconduct on his part.

Edge Kanyongolo, a constitutional law expert at Chancellor College, has previously kicked against Mutharika's ordering of Aniva's arrest, claiming that the directive instituted an abuse of power. He argued that the Malawian constitution did not give the president the right to interfere with the operations of independent agencies, such as the police.

Police in the country's Nsanje district are currently on the hunt for nine other suspects, also believed to be "hyenas", who are thought to be hiding out in caves.

Read more on:    peter mutharika  |  malawi  |  child sex abuse  |  souther africa

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