Hundreds of Malawi Congress Parrty (MCP) supporters on Tuesday morning cheered their party spokesperson Jessie Kabwila in Lilongwe after bail was granted following her arrest on Monday after attending parliament.
Kabwira was arrested on Monday and told Nyasa Times that she had been charged with “treason” over a conversation on WhatsApp that purportedly talks about how President Peter Mutharika could be toppled.
“I have been charged with treason and not sedition. It’s laughable to use archaic oppressive laws to punish opposition,” said Kabwila to Nyasa Times accompanied by MCP secretary general and her lawyer Gustav Kaliwo.
On Monday night, MCP members stormed the Kanengo holding cells where they chanted anti government songs and blocked the main gate with a lorry.
“Zonse zimene, nza Kamuzu Banda,” sang some women MCP supporters, as they whipped up emotions and support for Kabwila by chanting the name of MCP’s and Malawi founding president.
MCP members became more angry when the police officers had refused Kabwila’s mother to enter and see her daughter.
It took intervention of senior Police officers to let Kabwila’s mother in as demanded by the family and the MCP members.
On Monday, Members of Parliament removed police roadblocks which were mounted around at the entrance of the Parliament.
Police mounted a roadblock before arresting Kabwila who was enroute to German Embassy to seek refuge.
The arrest of Kabwira is contrary to laws of Malawi that an MP should not be arrested when coming or going to parliament.
National Police Spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said there could be more arrests.
“We have arrested in connection to the conversation on the WhatsApp,” said Gondwa.
Kabwila and MCP legal advisor Lewis Chakhwantha could not be found on Sunday when police arrested another MCP member Ulemu Msungama who has been pressed with sedition charges.
However, the two were at the Parliament chamber on Monday afternoon at the start of mid-term budget review.
Meanwhile Chankwantha is still taking refuge at German Embassy.
Police say the MCP members discussed how to conduct an insurrection similar to Egyptian revolt that brought down Hosni Mubarak after nearly three decades in power.
“If the investigations lead us into new avenues we will arrest more,” Gondwa said.
Kabwila is MP for Salima North West while Chakwantha is legislator for Lilongwe Rural South West.
MCP has rejected accusations by police that its members were part of a plan to topple the government by violent means.
MCP Deputy Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka said the arrests might be an attempt to destabilise the MCP and the the opposition.
“No one would deny they want a better Malawi,” Mkaka said.
He said it’s a big leap to say MCP members discussing about Malawi woes they’re planning to make a serious threat against anyone.
“The whole thing is ridiculous.”
Mkaka said the arrests are clearly being driven by a political agenda to “instil fear in people.”
MCP called the arrest and sedition charges as “outrageous .”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :