Malawi: Police officer gets thirty-year jail term for raping a university student

By Joseph Dumbula.

Andrew Chagaga (in yellow) will have to spend the next thirty years in jail after his conviction for raping a 17-year-old

A police officer in Malawi, aged 32 Andrew Chagaga will have to spend the next thirty years in jail after his conviction for raping a 17-year-old Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences in 2020.

This has been one of the highest profile sexual assault cases across the country drawing involvement of so many civil society organizations.

He was convicted last year in July by the Limbe First Grade Magistrate’s Court but the case was committed to the High Court for sentencing as prosecutors feared that the lower court could not hand Chagaga a lengthy sentence.

The court heard that Chagaga on 12 December, 2020 arrested the girl for idle and disorderly offence under section 180(d) of the Penal Code when she was on her way to a night of prayer event.

It was heard in that the girl was together with two friends, a boy and a girl at the time of the arrest.

Police officers told the three that they would be released if they paid money and one of the girls managed to pay while the other two were taken into police custody.

Whilst in police custody, Chagaga took the girl away from everyone else right in the police building and raped her twice. Officer Chagaga later released her and her friend in the night.

The girl reported the incident the following day and Chagaga was subsequently arrested for rape.

The trial started on 17th February, 2021 and the State paraded seven witnesses while Chagaga paraded one witness.

There has been massive reaction on the social media with people posting their satisfaction with the number of years also some of the prosecutors reportedly sought a sentence of over 42 years.

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