Kasambara trashes treason accusations

Former Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara, said he laughed off at PCommissioner of Police in the south, Rodney Kose, when he summoned him to inform him that the secutiy forces have gathered information that they wanted to incite public disorder

Kasambara was summoned alongside UDF politician Humphrey Mvula. The two were accused  of  conducting secret meetings to tincite the public into mass action against government Bingu wa Mutharika within 48 hours to take advantage of the industrial action in the judiciary.

But Kasambara, briefing Malawi Law Society in a memo which was posted on Facebook, said Police Commissioner Jose insinuated that they were about to commit sedition or treason.

Kasambara: They want to silence me

“How we intended to do that he declined to comment further but said that he was simply carrying out his duty of preventing commission of a crime,” Kasambara said in his note.

“We all know how these twin offences are used by the Bingu administration to harass opposition and civic society leaders; and no such case has been prosecuted to its logical conclusion. No wonder those two offences were picked and thrown at us,” he stated.

“My initial reaction was that of laughter at the ridiculous charges and disinformation that the police were peddling. Second, was one of sadness of the ineptitude of our police service since Mr Mvula and I had neither met nor talked on the phone for over 10 days. The last time I saw him in my office was about two weeks ago when he had come to sign Affidavits in an on-going UDF case.”

Kasambara said  he belived the Police were being used by the power-that-be to “ silence people and intimidate them into cowardice so that the other side of the industrial action is not exposed.”

He said: “Most people are not aware of the serious implications of the strike on our economy and human rights. The on-going industrial action affects all of us as Malawians.

“Members might wish to remind themselves of the genesis of this matter. In 2006, the Malawi Law Society took out a judicial review case against the State President challenging the State President to comply with the constitution in so far as the remuneration of the judiciary is concerned. Judgment was delivered by  two member panel on 2nd September 2007. The case is cited as The State v President et al ex parte MLS [2007] MWHC 7. The High Court was composed of Justices Chinangwa, Chikopa and Kamwambi,” explained the lawyer.

He said the court ruled that government  should  implement the determination of the National Assembly as regards the salaries and remuneration of the Chief Justice and other holders of judicial office and that the refusal to do so was in breach of the Constitution.

The lawyer pointed out that tThe power to determine the Terms and Conditions of service in the Judiciary resides with the National Assembly not in the Executive.

“I was the lead counsel for the team of lawyers representing the MLS and the State President was representing by the incumbent Attorney General then a lawyer in private practice.

“To the best of my knowledge the President has not complied with that court order culminating into the present industrial action. To the best of my knowledge no contempt of court proceedings were commenced against the President as Respondent.”

Kasambara said  security forces are making an attempt to silence  and intimidate him “into inactivity as an advocate so as not raise issues of contempt of court [ which can easily and SHOULD BE be done] as one way of pushing the striking JUDICIAL staff agenda.”

He further said: “This attempt by the Police, I believe, is a violation of my right to economic activity as a lwyer and indeed my freedom of expression and opinion as an individual in so far as they believe that they can silence me into not commenting on the ongoing strike.”

The parliament had approved a 40 percent pay hike in 2006 and another 60 percent in 2009 for judicial worker but none of these had been implemented.

According to solicitor-general Anthony Kamanga, the discussions between the government and judicial officials “had been going for sometime” but without any conclusion.

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