Former parliamentarian for Dowa East, Wali Nasser Kara of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) who was sentenced to death in 2002 of killing his driver has had his sentence reduced to 30 years in jail.
Kara , who is serving his jail term at Zomba Maximum Prison and is an inmate with his former lawyer Ralph Kasambara convicted on conspiracy to murder, appealed to the High Court in Blantyre under the Kafantayeni Resentencing Project.
In 2007 the High Court of Malawi abolished the mandatory death penalty. In what become known as the Kafanteyeni ruling the mandatory death penalty was deemed by the bench as unconstitutional as it amounts to an arbitrary deprivation of life, denies an accused the right to a fair trial and the right to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment.
Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is running a ‘Kafantayeni Project’ which aims at giving a second chance to 170 prisoners on mandatory death sentence to be reheard.
Resentencing hearings give prisoners the opportunity to present mitigating evidence before the court so that a judge may be persuaded to hand down a sentence other than death.
The project is also being implemented by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Legal Aid Bureau and Paralegal Advisory Service International (PASI).
With his sentence being reduced, Kara might be released in 2022 to serve about 15 years imprisonment after he already spent 13 years on death row.
Dziko Ndianthu Malunda, the Desk Officerz of Kafantayenji Project in thw Ministry fo Justice and Constitutional Affairs said the State recommended a life imprisonment but it Kara receives a third reduction he will walk free in 2022.
The discovery of driver Alex Mbewe’s body – stuffed in Kara’s Mercedes Benz car and pushed into a river – followed the mysterious disappearance of Kara’s wife Liwoli, and her friend, Chimwemwe Kanfonse, in February 2002.
Witnesses testified that Mbewe was killed because he had evidence incriminating Kara in the women’s disappearance.
The former MPs bodyguards Phillip Singo and Charles Kulemeka admitted in court that they drove Mbewe to a remote area near Salima and beat him to death on March 6, 2002, but they said Kara had forced them with threats and promises of money.
Police produced a signed statement in which Kara admitted to ordering his bodyguards to kill his wife, whom he accused of swindling him out of millions of Kwacha and using the money to attract other men. Her friend was allegedly killed because she was with Kara’s wife at the time, police said.
Kara claimed at his trial that he was coerced into signing the statement following his arrest last year after months on the run. He maintained his innocence in court until the july found him guilty.
Charges were not brought in the womens’ deaths because their remains by that time had not been located. Under Malawi laws, a person is presumed alive until seven years after their disappearance.
The abolition of the mandatory death penalty in Kafantayeni and the fact that Malawi has not actually carried out an execution since 1992 puts the country in good stead to abolish the death penalty.
Countries like Malawi that have made the transition to democracy increasingly see abolition of the death penalty as a necessary step to signal their commitment to human rights.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :