Former College of Medicine (CoM) student Obey Chirwa has been missing for over five years, and his family is yet to recover from the loss, with his father confessing that not knowing what befell his son is traumatising.The fourth-year medicine and surgery student, disappeared on March 5 2016 while at the college’s Mangochi Campus. He had told his roommate that he was going out and would return the same night, but never did.
CCTV footage at a bank in Mangochi captured him withdrawing K10 000 from an automated teller machine, but nothing is known as to what happened to him afterwards as the police and family’s search has yielded nothing.
In an interview with Nation on Sunday on Wednesday, his father Lyson Chirwa said he and his wife have spent sleepless nights figuring out where their son could be.
He said: “We engaged the police and we have been to prophets, but all that has been in vain.
“Up to now, we are still hunting and hoping that he will come back. If we knew what happened to our son, even if it was the worst, we would have managed to somehow recover.”
The father opened up on the extent of his suffering after not seeing his child graduate from CoM, one of the most prestigious colleges in the country which now trades under Kamuzu University of Health Sciences.
“Obey was close to graduating. It hurts to see that his colleagues have graduated and are working. Most times, I switch off the television when they are beaming graduation ceremonies. Watching that breaks my heart,” he said in a voice laden with pain.
Chirwa said the college officials called him once to collect Obey’s luggage, and they have never heard from the institution since.
The father of five said he looked to Obey, his third born, as someone who would take over the family leadership.
“My first and second born children are girls and they are married. Being the first boy child, we had hoped that he would be the next leader. He was well behaved and would mentor his two brothers that came after him,” he said.
Chirwafurther said they have now written the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to institute an inquiry into Obey’s disappearance and events that followed.
“Of late we have reported to the commission to see if they can help in one way or the other. They have promised to help and we are just waiting,” he said.
In an interview on Wednesday, MHRC spokesperson Kate Kujaliwa said they had not received the letter.
But the family insisted that it submitted the letter at the commission’s Southern Region office in Blantyre and when Kujaliwa was told this, she said she would find out.
A source at the MHRC regional office confirmed receipt of the letter, adding that they have been carrying out preliminary investigations to establish what happened.
When contacted, National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said he was gathering information regarding progress made in the investigation regarding what happened to the student.