Mzuzu Magistrate Court has granted bail to 12 of the 17 men who were arrested last week suspected to have pulled down billboards carrying the face of Presudent Peter Mutharika soon after nation-wide peaceful demonstrations organized by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).
Earlier, police released five of them after finding no incriminating evidence against them.
The 12 are answering charges of malicious damage and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
After delivering the petition, some protesters wanted to take advantage of the situation and started pulling down billboards carrying the face of Mutharika.
They tore down the billboards and ruling DPP flags at Mzuzu Shoprite Roundabout while chanting that the President was responsible for the suffering of Malawians.
Others wanted to vandalise some shops close to the main bus depot.
State Prosecutor, Lloyd Makweche, told the court that the suspects, whose age range is 16-24, threw stones at police officers on duty soon after the demonstrations and were arrested.
All the 12 suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Makweche asked the court to give police three days to complete investigations and begin to parade witnesses.
Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Kandulu then granted bail to all of them.
“All the suspects will be required to pay an amount of K20, 000 and avail themselves to police once a month until they get communication on when they will begin court appearance,” Kandulu said.
Over 5 000 people took to the streets on April 27 in Mzuzu, chanting songs against President Mutharika and his government for failing to address various socio-economic challenges affecting the country.
The protesters, mostly dressed in red attire, carried placards displaying the many challenges that the Mutharika government has brought and was failing to solve.
A two-kilometre walk— from Katoto Primary School to Civic Centre —took the ‘red sea’ almost two hours, as the marchers made stopovers at every institution they had concerns with.
For instance, at Mzuzu Clock Tower, the protesters sat down, symbolically to cry over government’s handling of the K4 billion payout to members of Parliament.
In the cries, they accused Mutharika of trying to compensate legislators who had helped his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regime to reject the Electoral Reforms Bills in November.
“Munkhwala muvipatala tilije, vyose tikugomzga madona! Mukiba kale kufuma mu CDF, sono mwati mwibeso K4 billion, mwabankhungu imwe timalanenge namwe [We have no drugs in hospitals, we rely on donors. You already stole from the Constituency Development Fund, and now you want to steal K4 billion, you thieves! We will deal with you!],” they chanted in Tumbuka.
Others claimed in their cries that the DPP government has specialists in stealing public money.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :