Malawi sex workers celebrate as court quashes convictions of 19: Not guilty!

Scores of sex workers ululated and handclapped at Zomba High Court after a judge quashed a lower court conviction of 19 prostitutes and ordered the state to return their K7000 each fine.

Court found 19 sex workers with no case

Court found 19 sex workers with no case

Dedza fourth grade magistrate convicted and sentenced the prostitutes on February 24 on charges of living on earnings of prostitution.

Police had no evidence to prove the charge against them.

They did not have legal representation during the initial hearing of the case  and pleaded guilty but found legal representation during the appeal at the High Court in Zomba when Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) and  Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) brought a reveiew application.

The case was argued before Judge Zione Ntaba on July 28.

The sex workers were represented by Fostino Maere.

Judge Ntaba said the magistrate erred in trying the women through unanimous plea.

“The lack of jurisdiction is so glaring annd cannot be corrected by the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Code. A court of fourth grade cannot try a case whose maximum sentence is 24 months,” Ntaba said.

Judge Ntaba said hotels, inns, rest houses and motels are not meant for men only but for both men and women.

“The country should have discussions on this issue,” said Ntaba.

She also wondered why the women prostitutes were arrested leaving out the male clients, saying it takes two to tango.

Judge Ntaba said the law does not criminalise against women prostitutes only.

She then quashed the convictions and sentencing and ordered the State to compensate the sex workers.

Dedza sex workers chairperson Alice Matambo said they were “very happy” with the judgement.

Matambo commended Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (Chrea) and Southern Africa Litigation Centre for helping them to take the matter to High Court for judicial review.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Malawi sex workers celebrate as court quashes convictions of 19: Not guilty!”

  1. joka says:

    I don’t understand the way the appeal has been handled.
    1. It is not about catching two people, after all the prostitutes were not caught in the act. It is about who has done what…clearly stated by law.
    2. The issue should not have been about type of magistrate.why couldn’t the case just be restarted.
    3. This waman magistrate could have been emotional on the matter. Subjectivity has played a part. The state can appeal to supreme and am sure zione would be found not fit to handle the case. Nayenso timufufufe…mmabaaalamu.

  2. nachisa says:

    Masiku ano amuna akumapanganso uhule. It seems some of those making comments here sanayende kunkaona zomwe zikuchitika maiko ena. By the way, married women are also tired of men who are failing in bed because of satisfying themselves with prostitutes. Women are increasingly having extra marital affairs, well, to help themselves. So the era of glorifying men’s promiscuity is coming to an end.

  3. Igabel of Harties says:

    Sex workers does not believe in God.The Bible says ‘Seek God kingdom and his righteousness and all these things( food,shelter,clothing etc) shall be added unto u.

  4. The Analyst says:

    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O
    Is it not embarrassing that one judge/magistrate could contradict another on basics? Nanga inu . . .
    . . . How could Fostino Maere not have the most basic technical knowledge that the Dedza Magistrate Court could not handle such a case? Kodi who appoints such lazy-minded people into such positions?
    . . . Yes, the Dedza Court Magistrate may not have had enough reasons for jailing these prostitutes but are the reasons given by Zione Ntaba for the prostitutes’ acquittal, convincing?
    . If a law [prohibiting vending] is passed, and a vendor happens to be arrested for defying the same.
    . . . can a judge/magistrate acquit this vendor on the basis that it was unfair to only arrest the vendor and not the buyer also; coz it takes both a buyer and a seller for a market to happen?
    . . . Now, what is this that Zione Ntaba is talking about when she asks where the consumer of these whores were?, for [in her words (which are true)] it takes two to tangle?
    ………………………………………………………………………
    Yes Zione Ntaba has rightly observed that the law does not criminalise against women prostitutes only.
    . . . but is she not making an embarrassing error to ask why the males were not arrested? thus, assuming that any male consumer of whores is himself a male prostitute?
    . . . Is it hard to see that gender-issues hence emotions [and not law] are at play here? Where a male magistrate convicts female whores and a female magistrate frees them? merely becoz they are fellow women? What happened to putting aside gender issues when applying laws?
    . . . Malawi’s justice system has a very huge structural problem. Not only are its magistrates egregiously incompetent but the laws are also applied dishonestly and inconsistently. Its just chaos!
    O……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….O

  5. Kachinda Nyini says:

    Many husbands cheat on their spouses because their wives are lazy in bed- sadziwa kunyamulira mamuna.

  6. Elder Sage III says:

    Indeed it takes two to tango

    We all know from ancient days when this dirtiest of professions started, that its the female folk who pry the trade. Male folk are just customers. I do not know anywhere in the world where you have a brothel with males as the ‘products’ for your taking – almost always brothels are the dens of girls and women. If a supplier is trading in poisonous or life-threatening stuff, should we take to task the customers as well? Mind you, am not condoning male hookers or pimps in whatever shade and disguise.

    Technically, there was a miscarriage of justice which I agree entirely. However, these immoral misfits should not have been left scot free. They have to pay some price, however small it may be. The way Zione [ntaba] has put it, its heroic for a woman to be a whore.

  7. kkilembe says:

    Malawi is the only backward country where the police storm into bars harrassing women. Chimtima cha Kongresi sichinathe….

  8. Hunga Matama says:

    We men of integrity are happy with the work of sex workers. We hate those men that go to abuse children or rape women without their consent. With sex workers, it is a fast one. A man who suffers from high Libido will just go to any nearest bar or along the road where he can meet these service providers. You negotiate on a price, agree and you have a fast one. Life goes on. So why the fuss? Leave sex workers alone. Mukufuna akadye kuchipatala? Shuppiitt!

  9. Kokani says:

    Prostitution will not end until Judgement day. We had prostitutes in bible some e.g Jezebel for instance, a Samaritan woman who was caught doing adultery and was brought before Jesus. Look these people did not catch the man who slept with this woman which was not fair and Jesus knew about it. But what I can advise these prostitutes is to be reformed and come back to Jesus who is going to supply with all their daily need and will care them other than continue with the dark work.

  10. KKKK says:

    It takes two to tangle kikikikiki

  11. steve says:

    kkkkkkkkkkkkkk this world of ours!! a law expert dissing a fellow law expert. anthuwadi amatibela chilungamo chathu posadzitsata zinthuzi, polephela kulipila anzawo odzitsatanso. Well done Chrea kaya mukuti ndani kaya. Keep on the good work but dont back prostitutes only. ena ali kundende kusowa owaimila… anamangidwa nkhani zake zopanda umboni enanso zaziii. Kummanga munthu chifukwa cha nkhuku 10 osangomugamula kuti akabwenze bwanji? Eni oberedwawo simumaona kuti mwawalakwila posabwezeredwa katundu wao? Justice goes together with restitution!! Fotseki anthu oipa inu.

  12. Kwa Govala says:

    Dziko latha basi, uhule amapanga ndi mkazi and si zabwino lero anthu ali against God comammandmenti “do not commit adultry” and today a certain judge is there diffending the sex workers. Ntchito zavuta komabematembelero enawa tikuwayamba dala. Azibambo enawa kaya ndi chiani mpaka kumakatenga hule ndithu akudziwa kuti akachoka apo akatengana ndi mwamuna wina. eiishhhh!! God help Malawi

  13. chiphwisi ntibule says:

    kokaa-kokaa-mahule awuwina mulandu uja?izi ndizonyadisa kwambili mu mbili ya ziko lino malawi. atlist ndekuti zinthu zayenda bwino kwambili pamenepa

  14. Kwemkhe says:

    kkkkkkkkkkkk so you can even be called Chairperson ALICE?

  15. Munyane says:

    Signs of end time, Lord have mercy!

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