Former ministers and leader of Maravi People’s Party (MPP), Uladi Mussa asked government to explain if it has silently declared the troubled a state of emergency in the troubled southern African country.
Uladi made the statement in Parliament sitting in Lilongwe, demanding Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to explain why government is still detaining human rights lawyer Ralph Kasambara at Zomba Maximum Prison in a death row cell when the court granted him bail.
His question comes hot on the heels of reports that the Bingu wa Mutharika autocracy was forcibly extracting incriminating evidence from human rights activists, critics and opposition leaders to face arrests and even assassination.
“You should tell us if the country is in a state of emergency with the way Ralph Kasambara has been arrested,” said Mussa, who served Mutharika’s cabinet as Home Affairs Minister.
“Here is a person who the courts granted bail and the state re-arrests and sends him into detention without trial. Why? Are we in a state of emergency,” the tough talking lawmaker asked.
He demanded Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume who was not in the House, to explain.
Speaker of Parliament Chimunthu Banda ruled that the debate on the issue should proceed on Tuesday when the Minister will be in the chamber.
Kasambara was arrested on Monday, given bail on Wednesday, re-arrested on the same day kept at Chichiri prison in Blantyre before being transferred to Zomba maximum prison
He was first arrested on allegations of assault and abduction of men who, he claimed had the intention to touch his office.
In a state of emergency, the Bill of rights gets suspended meaning that the Constitution gets suspended. People will be arrested, there is no recourse to lawyers, there is no recourse to courts and people will die in prison, according to legal experts.