Man who hit traffic officers still at QECH


Clifford Khomba, 45, who allegedly hit three traffic officers a week ago, is still battling for life at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, with reports indicating he was allegedly assaulted by police officers after the incident.

Malawi24’s Tuesday visit to the hospital, found Khomba in agony, unable to speak, with some wounds on his shoulder, his right hand and face, while he was being guarded by two police officers from southern region police office.

According to Diana Maganga who is the wife to Khomba, her husband was dumped at the hospital on 16th May 2022 by police officers while unconscious and with swollen hands as a result of being over handcuffed.

Maganga told us that apart from failing to speak, her husband is also neither eating nor defecating and she added that there has not been any serious diagnostic assessment but the patient is just being given panado.

She further indicated that the worst scenario of the matter is that while there was no any improvement on the patient, hospital authorities on Monday 23 May, wanted to discharge the patient but after she pleaded with the authorities, the decision was reversed.

Upon being asked what she has gathered regarding circumstances that led to the hospitalisation of Khomba, Maganga said she understand that Khomba was found guilty of traffic offenses and failed to pay fines because he had no money.

Maganga articulated that following this, her husband was angrily leaving the place leaving behind his driving license but he was blocked by the three traffic officers and in attempt to avoid them, he hit a tree.

The wife insists her husband did not deliberately hit the said men in uniform.

She continued to say she has also gathered that her husband was assaulted by police officers after the incident and she has vehemently denied reports making rounds that Khomba was assaulted by a mob.

“The first day I came here on 17 May, I asked him who assaulted him and with his head he just pointed at the police officers who were guarding him and he nodded his head in disagreement when I asked him if he was manhandled by civilians.

“From that moment to date, he is not speaking, so we will have more information once he starts speaking but surprisingly, before I came here, doctors documented his sickness and I asked who told them what he was suffering when the patient was not speaking?” complained Maganga.

Hospital documents seen by this publication recorded on 17 May, 2022, indicates that Khomba had some bruises, had some brain injuries, had problems with expressive aphasia and was unable to move jaws and the mouth due to pains, just to mention a few.

Commenting on the matter, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) through its public relations officer Kate Kujaliwa said the commission will next week announce its findings on the matter and will hold accountable everyone who has breached the laws.

Concurrently, Victor Mhango who is the Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights Education Advice (CHREA) said there is really a need to institute a public inquiry on the matter so that those implicated in this case should be brought to book.

Mhango told Malawi24 that if indeed their preliminary findings on the matter are true, officers involved in this malpractice need to face the music.

He also expressed worry that there seems to be no improvements from MPS claiming this is happening when similar cases are still in court.

“If this is indeed true that he was assaulted by the police, its sad and this shows how the police officers are not learning. We have had such cases in courts, like that of Buleya Lule which is a similar type of the version. I think it will take ages for our police to change.

“If indeed these people made themselves the arresting officers and later passed their judgment, a sentence which is assaulting a suspect, then I think its wrong and we should have a public inquiry so that all the wrongs should be brought to book. All we are looking for is justice for the victim and justice for the traffic officers too,” reacted Mhango.

Meanwhile, lawyer Alexious Kamangila who is the Legal Clinic Manager and Reprieve Fellow has volunteered to represent Khomba in his prosecution and says a Civil Suit will later be commenced.

Kamangila said he has volunteered himself because in most cases when an individual has wronged a state through injuring agents of the state, the processes of processing the individual in the criminal justice system becomes a suspicion especially on the question of protection of everyone’s right to Fair Trial.

He further explained that he wants justice on the victim and indicated that once he collects enough facts from Khomba himself and other parties, he will request for consent from the Director of Public Prosecutions to institute private prosecution of the suspected officers.

“I want Justice, I believe everyone wants Justice. If Clifford did wrong the Police as alleged, he should be held Accountable fairly like any person who has wronged any individual. There should not be any special force in prosecuting a person that has committed a crime against a police officer different from prosecuting a person that has committed a crime against a farmer in Mtchenamtchena.

“Secondly, from my preliminary investigations, Clifford has been tortured and so all those responsible should be equally prosecuted fairly. Finally, Clifford should be adequately compensated. Above all, I want Clifford to heal and not die so that he can tell his story,” Kamangila told us.

Khomba in hospital

He then questioned recent police reports that Khomba was assaulted by people who gathered at the scene saying he is not so sure if the public loves the Malawi police service that much.

“What the Police are saying, is only a matter of time, the truth will come out. So I do not want to jump the gun, but I am suspicious with the Police saying Clifford Khomba was assaulted by the mob, seriously? Do people in Malawi love the Police that much? But importantly, the mob was committing a crime in the presence of the Police?” He wondered.

However, South West Region Police spokesperson, Ramsy Mushani insists no single police officer tortured Khomba saying he was assaulted by members of the general public at the scene and not in police cell.

When asked why Khomba was assaulted in full view of police officers as per his claim, Mushani said after being hit, the officers were incapable of preventing the crowd from assaulting the suspect since they were in pain.

The publicist has since confirmed that they have not yet arrested anyone regarding the assault on Khomba.

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