Legal expert wants retrial of cases in which Dzamalala’s reports were used


Days after the Medical Council of Malawi (MCM) found Pathologist, Dr Charles Dzamalala, guilty of medical negligence over Kottana Chidyaonga’s postmortem report, a legal expert says there is need for retrial of all cases in which Dzamalala’s postmortem reports were used.

Dzamalala was found guilty after he was charged with medical negligence and unprofessional conduct over a postmortem in which he concluded that 23-year-old Kottana Chidyaonga died of termic poison.

Reacting to the development through a Facebook post, the legal expert Alexious Kamangila says it is very necessary that cases which used Dzamalala’s postmortem reports and conviction was entered, be brought back to the high court for retrial.

Kamangila in his post indicated that the revelation that Dr Dzamalala discharged his duties negligently and unprofessionally is a clear sign that this did not happened in Chidyaonga’s case, hence his request for retrial.

“All cases in which Dr. Dzamalala’s postmortem report was used and a conviction was entered, should be brought back to the high court for re-trial. This is the least that can happen.

“LAB, CHREAA, SALC, MHRC and the Judiciary do your job, this is the only effective remedy in these circumstances that can be inferred from section 46 as read together with section 42 of the constitution of Malawi,” said Kamangila in a Facebook post.

The legal expert continued to say that this should tell people that death penalty should really be abolished claiming mistakes in murder cases are so inevitable and that death sentences are so risky to stand.

He further said Chidyaonga’s boyfriend Timothy Mtilosanje, Ekari Chaweza, Gilbert Kamaliza and Diana Bhagwanji who were arrested over the death of the girl and later acquitted, could have been sent to the slaughter house, the death row, just because of a medical mistake.

He further explained that Chidyaonga’s case has also revealed that death penalty is mostly applied to people with no money, saying if the four murder suspects were poor, they would have been remanded to Zomba prison by now awaiting execution.

“The point is, if those that were accused of the Murder of Kottana, could have been ordinary Malawians, they would either be at Maula Prison right now awaiting their trial to start or they would be at Zomba Central Prison awaiting execution. Yes, it took their families to have close to K800,000 to do another autopsy which contradicted the doctors findings. Above all, death penalty should be abolished,” added Kamangila.

In an interview, Legal Aid Bureau Director Masautso Chamkakala, said the bureau cannot conclude whether to have a retrial or not because his office is yet to get an official report for the whole issue.

“We are yet to get the official report on this matter. Once we do, we will have to examine it and make a decision whether or not to approach the court on this,” said Chimkakala.

On challenges facing the Bureau with professionals supporting defense case, Chimkakala told Malawi24 that the Bureau does not have the budget and funds for such expenses, saying even those in public sectors are more inclined to assist the prosecution than the defence without pay.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dzamalala through his lawyer, James Naphambo says he is dissatisfied with MCM’s decision on the autopsy report and is planning to appeal the ruling.

Pathologist Dzamalala found guilty for concluding that Kottana died of poison