Malawi activists say Kasambara arrest ‘politically motivated’

Malawi’s human rights activists on Tuesday termed as politically motivated the arrest of former Attorney General and leading private practice lawyer Ralph Kasambara.

Meanwhile, Kasambara’s partner in Ralph and Anords legal firm, Wapona Kita said Magistrate Innocent Nedi in Blantyre granted him bail with conditions to deposit K20,000 cach, produce one surety bonded to the sum of K50,000 not cash.

He has been ordered to report to southern region police every Friday. Police were yet to respect the court order.

Police on Monday arrested Kasambara in the commercial capital, Blantyre, after he intercepted suspected regime thugs who were set to petrol-bomb his office.

Police interrogated the lawyer and five others on accusations of assaulting the gang of thugs.

Kasambara: They want to silence me

However, the human rights defenders addressing a news conference in Lilongwe condemned what they termed a politically-motivated arrest.

Other commentators charged that President Bingu wa Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party were playing a game of “political policing.”

They told Nyasa Times that Mutharika continues to use the hugely partisan Police to crush dissenting voices and political opponents.

Undule Mwakasungura, chairperson for the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) said Kasambara’s arrest is “disgraceful.”

National Coordinator of HRCC, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka said the arrest and false accusations on Kasambara are tactics to instil fear in the mind of Malawians which had always been the driving force behind the Mutharika regime.

Human rights lawyer Habiba Osman said days of oppression and intimidation in Malawi are numbered.

Academician Dr Jessie Kabwila Kapasula who is a vocal activist, has meanwhile called on Malawians to “close our ranks,” against ill-conceived and misguided scheme by Mutharika government in its desperate last act to bring the Malawian people into complete submission.

“This is not time for one to be locked up; one does not know what they can do to him. If you differ with him on other issues, this is not the time for differences, no time to gaze, this is time to stand for human rights defenders in Malawi,” Kabwila-Kapasula posted on Facebook, calling for unconditional release of Kasambara.

Kasambara, a bitter critic of President Bingu wa Mutharika and his administration said police detained him on Monday around noon “after we came to deliver some thugs we intercepted.”

He said after questioning the thugs “they confessed they were sponsored to petrol-bomb my office.”

Kasambara said the thugs, who were set free by police, were caught with a jerry can of petrol.

Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati claims Kasambara “kidnapped people” and they he “strip them naked and torture them.”

But spokesperson for Blantyre Police station, Beatrice Mwachande, said Kasambara was being accused of assault.

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