One of the country’s gender activists Emma Kaliya says the sentence given to Eric Aniva is too lenient.
The Nsanje hyena Aniva who for the past five months hit headlines in the local and international media because of his involvement in harmful cultural practices was on Tuesday sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour.
Aniva faced two charges and he has been given 24 months for the first count of indulging in harmful cultural practices contrary to section 5 sub section 1 and 2 of the 2013 Gender Equality Act and 10 months for the second count of attempting to engage in harmful cultural practices.
Nsanje First Grade Magistrate court’s Principal Resident Magistrate Innocent Nebie said the sentences will run concurently.
However, this has not pleased Kaliya who is also the chairperson for African Womens’ Development and Communication Network and said that the convict was supposed to get a stiffer punishment.
“Yes the sentence to us is an interpretation that things went wrong in a sense that it will send a message there that doing such things in the society there are laws to be pressed against the offenders.”
“However, looking on the negative side of the sentence is that two years is just too little time because the law gives such cases a maximum of five years and those doing this malpractice will continue doing it because there is nothing to threaten them,” worried Kaliya.
She added that she would be grateful if the sentence goes for review considering the number victims of Aniva’s harmful cultural practices.
Meanwhile, Aniva’s lawyer says he will appeal against the two year jail term. The defence lawyer, Michael Goba Chipeta, has since expressed disatisfication with the ruling.
“As a lawyer for Mr Aniva, I am not happy with the ruling. I thought my client would have been given a suspended sentence or told to pay a fine because the state had failed to parade the 100 women who were involved in the said harmful cultural practice. Therefore I will appeal against that ruling,” said Chipeta.
Eric Aniva, 45, was arrested on July 24, 2016, on President Peter Mutharika’s order soon after he confessed to BBC that he had slept with over 100 widows and young girls in a form of harmful cultural practice known as kulowa kufa.
Throughout his court trial, Aniva who admitted and HIV positive and that he was being given K2000 to sleep with the girls, was never given bail.
He hails from Chiphwembwe village in the area of Senior Chief Malemia in Nsanje district.