Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)and faith groups under the banner, Justice for Bushiri, have decried continued arrest of Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and wife, Mary, to by South African authorities which amounts to persecution and asked Malawi government to help repatriate their nationals.
The grouping , led by Malawi Watch executive director Billy Banda, said at at a news conference held in Lilongwe on Wednesday that Bushiri must be given a fair trial.
They observed that despite multiple arrests, no evidence has been brought to court to date adding that justice is being denied through the delays.
“We are certain and convinced that Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and his wife, Mary, are in a precarious situation in South Africa and, as their fellow citizens, we have a duty to lay a hand. Our wish is to have the Prophet back home because we still love him here,” said Billy Banda.
Banda noted that despite being arrested on February 1 2019, Bushiri has appeared before the court four times without trial, every time the State asking for postponement because they were not read.
“Two years, no trial. Why? Even worse, they took away his travelling documents and by next year he will have been on remand for three year. Is this justice?”
“When they were making this arrest, the State said they had ‘overwhelming evidence’. By May 31 2021, this case will have clock 3 years without trial. Is this prosecution or persecution? “he wondered.
Banda further noted that the Bushiris were arrested again on October 20 and they have appeared three times before the court seeking bail, but they have been denied.
“Why is he being treated in this targeted way? Bail is a right, but why does it seem so problematic to hear his application?” he said.
One of the members of the grouping, Anthony Mukumbwa raised the issue of Bushiri permanent residence in South Africa which has also raised eyebrows.
He said if the Bushiris are in South Africa fraudently, it is better for the government to deport them back to Malawi than keeping them in jail.
The grouping has since asked Malawi Government to engage the South Africa Government to have the Bushiris brought back home.
“They must be free from this prolonged remand. They should be answering their charges while in Malawi,” they have said.
The Bushiris will return to the dock on Friday for the continuation of their bail application.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :