Malawi flagship newspaper hits out at govt over politically motivated arrest

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) ‘Government’s costly stunts are too much’ is the verdict of the editorial comment in Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper on Friday.

Kumpukwe and Assani walk to freedom

The Daily Times says the court acquittal of Cecilia Kumpukwe—a sister and aide to the immediate past president Joyce Banda—and her accomplices Ackson Kalaile Banda, Stella Assani and Yesaya Mkwala calls for questioning of government’s seriousness in the matter.

The paper says lack of prosecutorial activities on the matter lends credence that the arrest was politically inspired.

Kumpukwe, Kalaile, Assani and Mkwala were arrested in connection with a purported resignation letter allegedly written by Vice-President Saulos Chilima.

The State levelled two charges against the trio: Making a false document contrary to Section 353 of the Penal Code and publishing false news likely to cause fear and alarm among members of the Republic of Malawi contrary to Section 60 (1) of the Penal Code.

The editorial pointed out that  arrest  were made at a time there was growing suspicion that the vice-president was not in good terms with the current administration despite being clearly second in command of State affairs.
“However, when we hear that close to a year after their arrests, there was no much movement on the case, we should be justified to question government’s seriousness on the action it had taken.
2017 was a year some arrests deemed to be politically motivated were made. There are also other quarters that believe that an announcement by the police that it had secured a warrant of arrest for Banda was made to score some political points,” reads the paper editorial.
The paper says the determination by  Senior Resident Magistrate Chisomo Msokera to discharge the case because of the State’s delay to prosecute the matter shows lack of seriousness on the part of government. “It may buttress the point raised by some quarters that the four were arrested on political grounds,” it said.

The leader’s comment pointed out that this is one of the many politically motivated case that has been discharged by the courts including a case involving Malawi Congress Party members Jessie Kabwila, Peter Chakhwantha and Ulemu Msungama who were arrested on treason charges.

The paper says the four will likely tsue government for unlawful arrests and claim a lot of money  from as compensation just as Kabwila and her colleagues might do.

Of course the money will come from the poor  “because of sheer carelessness by a government that acts before it thinks.”

The publication has persuaded government to be serious when making arrests ensuring that thay have  objective evidence to avoid creating an impression that they were made just to silence people deemed to be opponents of the current administration

Former president Joyce Banda had described the arrest as a political witch-hunt aimed to harass her and her immediate family.


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