Magistrate recuses himself in ex-MP sex assault case

A defilement case involving former Malawi’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Kasungu, Rodgers Sithole, has been transferred from Kasungu to Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court after the presiding judge recused himself.

The case was being heard at the Kasungu Magistrate Court by First Grade Magistrate, Henz Kantchere, but he requested to have it transferred to Lilongwe citing preconceived judgments by the people in the area.

Magistrate Kantchere said many people in the district were following the case keen interest and already have their judgment over the accused as such any outcome in his favour will cause pandemonium.

Sithole, who comes from Mnyanja Village, T/A Kaluluma in Kasungu, is answering two charges of abduction and defilement.justice

Abduction is contrary to Section 259 of Penal Code and the charge draws a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment while defilement attracts a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and is contrary to section 138 (1) of the penal code.

The former legislator handed himself to Kasungu Police late last month after being on the run for several weeks in connection with the alleged defilement of two under aged girls at Nkhamenya Trading Centre in the district.

According to police the 58-year-old Sithole, who owns the popular Mbapapi Private Secondary School in the district, defiled the two girls after he had travelled with them from Nkhamenya to Mzuzu and then later to one of the holiday resorts in Nkhata Bay.

The former MP defiled the girls again when he booked a room at Nkhamenya Lodge on 3 August, 2013 upon his return from Nkhata Bay. Unfortunately, Sithole is said to have left the girls at the lodge stranded at around 4:00 am before he went missing.

One of the girls, upon reaching her home, revealed the ordeal to her grandparents who reported the matter to Chatoloma Police Unit the following day and police referred the girl to Kasungu District Hospital where medical examination confirmed that she was indeed defiled repeatedly.

When he appeared before the Kasungu Magistrate Court, the suspect was given bail on three grounds of wanting to meet a doctor because he suffers from a neck problem, hiring a private lawyer for the case as well as running his private school and take care of it as schools were about to open then.

Sithole, who has 13 wives, served as an MP for Kasungu North East between 2004 and 2009 and reports, and before committing the crime he had expressed interest to contest again on MCP ticket in next year’s polls.

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