Manes Winnie Chitedze Hale, a naturalised United States of America (USA) citizen, arrested last week Tuesday at Kamuzu International Airport for allegedly insulting President Peter Mutharika through social media posts, has left for her base in Maryland US a week later without any problems after the State has withdrawn the case.
State prosecutors said they were unwilling to pursue the case against Hale and Police which were keeping Hale her American passport and electronic gadgets returned them to her and she left on Tuesday.
On departure Hale a United Transformation Movement (UTM) member widely known as ‘Abiti Manice Dawood’ on Facebook, said: “The state has decided to discontinue the matter and I am free person… but I want a better Malawi.”
Her lawyer Chikosa Silungwe said Hale, was at liberty to leave the country.
Silungwe said police should not have arrested Hale as Section 4 of the Protected Flag, Names and Emblems Act the State based its case on is of dubious legitimacy under the Constitution.
In a notice of discontinuance of the case, the Lilongwe Principal Resident Magistrate’s Court said the State had dropped the case.
Reads the notice in part: “To: Manes Winnie Chitedze Hale. Pursuant to Section 77 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Code [CP and EC], I hereby notify you that the State has entered the discontinuance in this matter.”
The arrest of Hale, originally from Kambuku Village, Traditional Authority Kwataine in Ntcheu, sparked a diplomatic incident as the US Embassy in Lilongwe demanded information from the Malawi Government on the development.
Hale was arrested as she was about to catch a flight back to her base in the US after being spotted attending some UTM rallies in Mzuzu and Mangochi addressed by Vice-President Saulos Chilima.
She has claimed to be related to the Mutharikas, saying her mother was a sister to the late first lady Ethel, who was former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s first wife.