Some Malawians describing themselves as “concerned citizens” have made what they call “a passionate appeal” to people of goodwill within and outside the country to “support” former President Peter Mutharika in settling legal costs in a case where Mutharika and former Secretary to the President and Cabinet Lloyd Muhara were being accused of having a role in a plot to remove Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda and Justice of Appeal Edward Twea.
The High Court in Lilongwe recently ordered Mutharika and Muhara to pay Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), Association of Magistrates and Malawi Law Society (MLS) K69.5 million.
Mutharika and Muhara will pay K26 million to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Association of Magistrates while MLS will get K43 million.
HRDC, Association of Magistrates and MLS were first, second and third applicants, respectively, in the case.
The court gave Mutharika and Muhara 14 days to pay the costs.
However, speaking Tuesday at a press conference in the Capital, Lilongwe, the “concerned citizens” said they feel “the pressure is just too much on the former President” considering that “government also obtained a court order to freeze his bank accounts”.
Led by journalist Mundango Nyirenda, the “concerned citizens” also said they have a “conviction” that Mutharika is being “victimized for political reasons”, adding that “this is not a case of justice but rather political persecution”.
“Fellow citizens, we are not here to defend anyone from any wrong doing, and neither are we here to comment on court rulings and judgments, but rather to ignite debate and ask well-wishers to join our cause.
“Malawians are fully aware that the State obtained a court order to freeze Mutharika’s bank accounts, pending investigations on a matter he was already cleared. Then we were shocked to read media reports indicating that the High Court has ruled that Mutharika and his former Chief Secretary, Mr. Lloyd Muhara, should pay K69.5 million.
“It is for this reason that we the concerned citizens issue this statement and raise a moral question as to how does the court expect the former President to comply with the court order when the same court is fully aware that it allowed the freezing of the accused’s bank accounts?
“Unfortunately everyone seems not to care as people have folded their arms and are just looking at whatis happening to Mutharika. What we are forgetting is that a very bad precedent is being set today, and after APM we do not know who is next in line to be victimized.
“We as concerned citizens have undertaken a decision to write the donor community to bring to their attention the way the Tonse Alliance and indeed President Lazarus Chakwera are treating the former Head of State. Find us on our Facebook page, Justice for APM, and make your contribution through bank account details to be made public in due course.
“Let’s join hands to bail out our former leader from this very unfortunate situation. No matter how many charges Mutharika might face, genuine or tramped up, he still remains the former President of this country, and he deserves to be treated fairly and with the respect he deserves,” Nyirenda read out a statement to journalists.
On November 20 2020, newly appointed Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, Justice Charles Mkandawire, while winding up the case he was presiding over as a High Court judge, ordered Mutharika and Muhara to pay costs incurred in the case where they were found guilty of forcing the Chief Justice and Justice Twea to proceed on leave in June last year, pending retirement.
Mkandawire faulted Mutharika and Muhara for interfering with the independence of the judiciary.
On June 12 2020, Muhara had issued a public notice that the two should proceed on leave to clear days pending retirement, a development that angered HRDC, Association of Magistrates and lawyers who later held demonstrations protesting the decision as an infringement of the doctrine of separation of powers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :