‘Bingu will be held responsible should anything happen to Kasambara’

Malawi opposition parties have spoken with one voice in condemnation against the continued detention of human rights lawyer Ralph Kasambara, warning that dictator Bingu wa Mutharika  will be held squarely responsible should anything unnatural happen to the outspoken lawyer.

In a joint statement signed by Friday Jumbe and  George  Ntafu (UDF), Kamuzu Chibambo (PETRA), Mark Katsonga Phiri (PPM), Gwanda Chakuamba (NRP), Kamplepo Kalua (MDP), Levison Ganiza  (Mafunde) and  Rev. Malawi Mtonga (People’s Party), the opposition parties  call for the immediate and unconditional release of Kasambara, who is being held under unlawful detention by the Government of Mutharika.

They noted that the Mutharika government continues to hold Kasambara in open defiance of bail duly granted by a competent court of law.

Activist Billy Mayaya cheer Kasambara at Mwaiwathu hospital on Saturday

“We find this to be unacceptable in a democratic dispensation and we are, therefore, calling on the Mutharika government to release Mr. Kasambara by 12 PM of Monday, 20th Februalry 2012,” said the statement.

“Should the government fail to comply, we will be left with no choice but to employ necessary and lawful political means to ensure his immediate release. “

The statement adds: “We, the opposition parties, find the cruel handling of Mr. Kasambara as a serious violation of his rights as an individual and a clear demonstration by the Mutharika government that it does not respect the rule of law.”

It is on record that the DPP Government has blatantly disregarded the court order to release Kasambara and his accomplices on bail on the pretext that courts’ support staff members are on strike.

But the opposition said the government’s excuse to keep Kasambara in detention sounds very “hypocritical” because the same DPP Government obtained court documents to search Kasambara’s Ralph & Arnolds offices and his private house in Nyambadwe.

The opposition parties are also concerned that: “Instead of arresting the alleged ‘assassins’ of Mr. Kasambara, the police arrested the complainants whilst according VIP treatment to Mr. Kasambara’s assailants.”

They pointed out that from the available information, the ‘assassins’ were commandeered to Mr. Kasambara’s office by individuals in public service and the same public officers ensured that after the failed plot, they received VIP medical treatment at Seventh Day Adventist Hospital.

“The police have assumed powers certainly beyond those provided in the Republican Constitution in as far as this matter and other similar matters are concerned. The police are now conducting themselves as if they were a political party militia instead of serving the people of Malawi without regard to political persuasions,” the parties noted.

Reports that there are several other planned arrests of perceived government enemies in a bid to intimidate and silence them are unwelcome in a democratic Malawi, the parties said/

And said if proved correct, rumours that there are assassins on the loose hired from a neighbouring country to deal with perceived regime enemies are not just barbaric but unwelcome in a democratic dispensation.

“The opposition parties would like to warn President Mutharika and his Government that they shall be held accountable should anything unnatural happen to Mr. Kasambara and indeed to any other peace-loving Malawian,” said the statement.

“The parties shall leave no stone unturned to ensure that democracy, good governance, observance of human rights and the rule of law are upheld and preserved in a democratic Malawi. “

The parties said they are appalled by that the fact that  during the past two years, the Mutharika regime has,  “without shame and due regard to democratic norms as enshrined in the Republican Constitution”, proceeded to trample on the basic rights of the people of Malawi, who in 1994, chose a democratic form of government.

“We would like to remind President Mutharika and his government that Malawians voted for a multiparty democratic system of government against a dictatorship even when such a dictatorship provided food on every Malawian’s table and even when the dictator claimed that there was development spread all over. Malawians wanted freedom, enjoyment of human and people’s rights and a sense of belonging to Mother Malawi.”

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