Malawi News

Israella Bushiri’s death: What really killed prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s daughter?

The extradition case of the flamboyant Malawian prophet Shepard Bushiri could take a new twist amid reports that the Kenyan and Malawian doctors released sworn affidavits alleging that a decision allegedly made by Malawi’s Director of Public Prosecution, Dr Steve Kayuni reduced the child’s chances of survival from a hopefully 90% to just 5%.

The late Israella Bushiri (8), was refused medical evacuation at Kamuzu International Airport in the country’s capital Lilongwe in February, 2021. A private medical ambulance chartered by the family was turned away at the airport. Israella was only permitted to leave Malawi on the 25th of February after the family approached the courts. She died on the 29th of March, in Nairobi, Kenya.

During her funeral service, David Zgambo, Bushiri’s brother-in-law told mourners that Steve Kayuni was responsible for Israella’s death.

“Everything was cleared. The ambulance was ready. But we were told that the child could not travel to get treatment. I spoke to the director of immigration who told me that there was no reason for the child to be refused evacuation. We were then told that Steve Kayuni had ordered that the child be forced to stay.

“As a medical doctor I was afraid. We called him and he didn’t pick calls. We even sought his audience and were turned away at the gate. This as the child’s condition was deteriorating rapidly. It is my opinion, as a doctor and that of others, that the delay in getting her treated led to her death.”, he said.

Speaking at the same funeral, Shepherd Bushiri absolved the government of Malawi of any wrongdoing, but said a single person was behind the block that led to the child’s death.

“I can assure you. The government of Malawi was not involved (in the decision to block Israella’s travel). It was the actions of one single individual. I don’t know what me or my family or my daughter ever did to him and why he did this. But we accept the will of God.”, he said, without naming Kayuni directly.

But Israella’s doctors, who tended to her until she died have now released documents and a scathing affidavit that implies Kayuni’s decision to delay the child’s treatment led to her death.

“The child reacted well initially to treatment, but required ventilators, and advanced medical care which was not availed in Malawi. Her condition was life-threatening but she had at least 95% chances of recovering if she had received immediate care. The delay allowed the infection to progress unmitigated, damaging the lining of her lungs and causing mucus build-up.

“By the time she was eventually released, she only had 5% chances of survival. Had she been allowed to travel when the evacuation was first ordered, she would have survived”, reads part of the affidavit written by the doctors and submitted to Bushiri’s lawyers, and signed by Kenyan police.

In an interview after the Bushiris appeared before a Lilongwe Magistrate, Steve Kayuni pleaded no comment to questions surrounding Israella’s death.

“No comment. It was a court decision and court process which is still underway. No comment”, he said.

Kayuni also refused to confirm or deny the allegations by the Bushiri family that it was his decision to block the child’s travelling.

Kayuni is the lead prosecutor in the extradition case between the Bushiri’s and South Africa.

Sources within the family stated that the Bushiris intend to lay criminal charges of involuntary manslaughter (culpabale homicide) against “whoever made that decision to stop the medical evacuation”

Bushiri’s spokesperson, Ephraim Nyondo told Zim Morning Post that if any wrongdoing was proven, the family would seek justice.

“We are hurt by the passing of Israella. She was only 8 years old. It is heartbreaking to even hear of suggestions that her passing could have been avoided. If there was any wrongdoing by any persons, then we will obviously seek justice”.

Meanwhile, Bushiri’s extradition case was adjourned to June 04 after the courts.

During the court proceedings magistrate Patrick Chirwa said “The SADC Protocol says it must be ratified by member states in line with their individual constitutions.

“The constitution of Malawi states that any treaty in Malawi must be domesticated by an act of Parliament to become valid.

“It is not disputable that treaty has not been domesticated and ratified by an act of parliament in Malawi,” he said.

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