High Court set to consider Chisale bail bid

Chief security aide to former president Peter Mutharika, Norman Chisale, returns to the courts Monday morning to seek temporary freedom from incarceration at Chichiri Prison in Blantyre.

Chisale coming from Prison to court

Chisale is being held over allegations that he attempted to murder a woman in Blantyre in May 2020.

Hitherto, the once-untouchable personal bodyguard to Mutharika had been arrested for his suspected involvement in the importation of cement from Zambia using the former President’s taxpayer identification number (TPIN) to evade payment of import duty.

The Chief Resident Magistrate Violet Chipao granted him bail last Friday.

But even before he could breathe in fresh air in a free world, the police pounced on him again for allegedly shooting 35-year-old Sigele Kaipa at Chimwankhunda in Blantyre.

He reacted angrily to his re-arrest, saying that as a human being, he too felt pain and needed some time out of the police cell.

But this did not change the mind of the arresting officers. After placing a charge of attempted murder on him, they bundled Chisale into the Land Cruiser back to the cell.

Chisale vehemently denies the charge, arguing it was an accidental shooting.

Last week, his lawyer said Kaipa had actually withdrawn her interest in the case because Chisale had been providing her with financial help in the whole course of her admission to the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

The lawyer, Chancy Gondwe, went further to furnish the police with an affidavit to prove that Kaipa was not interested in pursuing the matter in the court.

The Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Simeon Mdeza remanded Chisale for seven days after an application by the State. However, the High Court Judge Silvester Kalembera set aside the ruling and heard the bail application in camera on Thursday.

And as his bail application case returns to court in a matter of hours’ time, the question Chisale, his family members and members of the general public keenly following are asking is: “Will Justice Kalembera grant Chisale bail or continue holding him in the cell?”

Before the court adjourned the matter last week, the lawyer Gondwe said with the rapid spread of the coronavirus and government’s subsequent prevention directives, it would be in the interest of justice if his client was released on bail so that he can wait for his appearance in court while in a safer environment.

Since the fall of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the fresh presidential election on June 23 2020, the Tonse Alliance government has made a number of arrests in what authorities have termed an initiative to fight corruption left over from the Mutharika administration.

On the other hand, DPP, which is still struggling to stomach the reality of being in opposition, claims the fresh charge was politically motivated.

Several prominent figures have been arrested since then, mostly for crimes committed during the Mutharika’s presidency.

They include Jomo Osman, a DPP councillor; Roza Mbilizi, deputy director-general of the Malawi Revenue Authority; and Gerald Viola, deputy chief executive officer of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA).

Police said they could not make the arrests earlier because the political environment would not allow them.

“The environment at that particular time was not conducive for us to continue arrests. Sometimes we do judge that if we do effect an arrest now, we may escalate issues politically as well as socially,” said the National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera.

Kadadzera said police were now free to arrest any offender regardless of political affiliation.

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