The damage that irresponsible reporting can do - a travesty of justice in Malawi. Part 2

From Anglican Information

A story that won’t go away: The accusations made that the late Canon Rodney Hunter was poisoned in 2007 have long since been discredited by those who know and understand the story. Hunter had cancer, the so-called poisons were medications, and the two accused (including Hunter’s loyal cook) were slapped into Nkhota-kota prison simply on the word of a twice-suspended priest and disgruntled cohort of Hunter, one Dennis Kayamba.

One of the accused Bernard Mlota was released on bail fairly soon afterwards but emerged traumatised and never fully recovered. Conditions in Malawian prisons are terrible and in a country that still has the death penalty the psychological stress of a false accusation is considerable. Bernard Mlota has now died leaving nine children and thirty-eight grandchildren bereft of their earning head of family.

The other accused, Hunter’s faithful cook Leonard Mondoma, languished in prison for well over a year until humanitarian efforts by a lawyer who works for Amnesty International finally got bail. Mondoma is now out and in poor physical condition.

Bernard Mlota’s family understandably are attributing his death to his terrible experiences and implying, rightly in our view, that accusatory press coverage of the event claiming that Hunter had been poisoned led to delays in his release, difficulty in paying for medication, ill-treatment (as if he were guilty even though he had not been charged) and the trauma of seeing his son imprisoned simply for trying to get bail for his father.

Readers will observe that the Internet to this day is full of stories claiming murder on the part of the two innocent men based on the reportage of Ruth Gledhill of the U.K. Times newspaper. Ruth Gledhill has never withdrawn her damaging accusations or apologised.

Andrew Brown the highly respected commentator of the U.K. Church Times took Ruth Gledhill on in this matter and his observations can be read at his website: www.thewormbook.com see entry for 2nd May 2007. Brown discredited Gledhill’s report as did our own 27th April and 4th May 2007 on our archive website.

Conspiracy theories:
This weblog and publication is regularly covered and posted by other websites and our last issue of 30th July ‘The Hunter case false accusations’ has been posted – and – removed! [From Only Connect]

We are aware that Ruth Gledhill is rattled by these developments but do not believe that she has somehow threatened other webmasters if they don’t stop criticising her – this isn’t China and the Olympic Games. In any case she will have to explain herself publicly sooner or later because back in poverty stricken Malawi a grave injustice has been done. One innocent man has died and another is sick and just at this moment we seem to be the only website courageous enough to carry the story. 

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