DPP supporters chant for Masangwi’s release: Family say arrest ‘political’

Business almost came to a stand still in the commercial capital Blantyre as opposition DPP youths cadets and women drove around town, chanting songs demanding immediate release of their regional Governor for the south, Noel Masangwi.

Masangwi, who surrendered himself to police on Wednesday morning spent a night at Chilomoni police station after his lawyer, Kalekeni Kaphale failed to secure bail as the police had not recorded statement from him.

He has been arrested in connection with the murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa last year.

The irate but unarmed  Cadets -the youth wing of DPP which was notorious for beating and torching houses of llate Bingu wa Mutharika’s opponent – clad in party colours drove around Blantyre town chanting songs in demand of release of Masangwi.

DPP cadets took to the streets to demand Masangwi’s release

“Sitilola mpaka Masangwi atuluke, Sitilola mpaka Masangwi atuluke, Sitilola mpaka Masangwi atuluke,” chanted the supporters in DPP vehicles.

The incident did not go well with some people who shouted in rebuke at the overzealous DPP supporters who seemed to be enjoying their action.

At  Chilomoni Police Station in Blantyre, supporters of DPP kept a vigil where they chanted songs, urging authorities to free Masangwi. One of the songs went: “Ambuye timenyereni nkhondo [Lord fight our war].”

Mansangwi family has claimed the arrest of the DPP southern region governor is politically motivated.

According to his brother, associate professor Salule Masangwi, said the Joyce Banda government “influenced the findings” in the inquiry and “it leaked the report to the media before police investigations were finished to nail my young brother.”

Salule told The Nation newspaper that some senior government officials have plotted to punish his brother for arguing, while DPP was in power, that Malawi was not ready for a female president. At the time, President Joyce Banda was vice-president.

“But we trust our Judiciary, it is independent. I can vouch that my brother is innocent and Malawians should expect to know the truth when the matter comes in court. How on earth can you have a ruling party executive member in the commission of inquiry and expect to have findings acceptable to all,” said Salule.

DPP spokesman Nicholous Dausi insisted that the suspects are innocent and that they should be treated as such until they are found guilty by a competent court of law.

“Our law presumes people to be innocent until proven guilty,” said Dausi.

He said DPP “will not abandon them.”

Police  has also arrested  two more suspects in connection with the murder of Polytechnic student Robert Chasowa last year.

The two, Frank Julius and Isaac Osman joined Masangwi, youth director  Lewis Ngalande, boxing promoter Mike Chitenje and police officer Stanford Horea who were arrested on Wednesday bring the number of arrest to eight.

Osman is popularly known as ‘Mtopwa One’. His comrade-in-arms boxing promoter Mike Chitenje, also known as ‘Bangwe One’, was earlier arrested.

The suspects have been held at different police stations.

The full list of people named as suspects by the Commission of Inquiry are Mr. Dolph Geoffrey Botomani, Petros Tembo, Sam Chulu, Stoni John, Mike Chitenje, Isaac Osman, Frank Julius, Noel Masangwi, Lewis Ngalande, Elias Phiri, Harry Makina, Chikondi Mwamvera, Constable Stanford Horea, Sub/Inspector Yuda, and Amos.

The Commission of Inquiry on the death of Robert Chasowa urged the police to continue and complete the investigations on Chasowa’s death as a case of homicide.

Chasowa was found dead on college campus in September 2011, in what police initially called a suicide.

He was president of a youth rights group at the Polytechnic in Blantyre, which was critical of the Mutharika administration.

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