Former politician, journalist-cum-activist Chikumbutso Mtumodzi on Friday marked his 42 birthday at Lilongwe Magistrate Court where he pleaded not guilty charges of conduct likely to cause breach of peace and intimidation and was released on court bail.
Police could not grant him bail since arresting him on Wednesday on allegations that he was inciting venders to revolt against government.
“I spent part of my birthday in handcuffs and having black diet,” said Mtumodzi on Friday December 2, 2016 his birthday.
“I am glad that I have been given bail and a birthday gift of handcuffs from the state,” he added.
Lilongwe police station spokesman Kingsley Dandaula said Mtumodzi was arrested after organising meetingswith the vendors under the Reform to Transform movement led by Presdient Peter Mutharika’s fierce critic, Z Allan Ntata.
Mtumodzi,who was taken to Lilongwe City Centre clinic after a health scare, said he had applied to be freed on bail but officers kept saying they were waiting for Inspector General Lexten Kachama or his deputy Duncan Mwapasa to approve.
The police chiefs were also waiting for “orders from above” to have Mtumodzi freed on bail.
They officers however dragged Mtumodzi to court to be formally charged.
Charges that were read in court said Mtumodzi on 21 November, 2016 at National Bank city centre branch parking area ordered Lilongwe City patrol ment to stop patrolling and that he used insulting language in such a manner as to promote others to break the peace. He is also charged of intimidation contrary to Section 88 (1) of the penal code.
When he was asked to take a plea, Mtumodzi pleaded: “Not guilty.”
When his lawyer Chimwemwe Sikwese of Sikwese and Company applied for court to release Mtumodzi on bail, the State prosecutor did not object and court granted bail with Reuters journalist Mabvuto Banda as one of the surities.
Meanwhile, vendors stormed to office of Dziko FM radio which Mtumodzi own to hold vigil to the man they call “President was anthu Osauka (president for the poor).”
His arrest stem from the meeting he had with vendors oto finding a solution on how to recover the confiscated goods from Lilongwe City Council or get compensation from government’s Youth Development Fund (YEDEF)’s K6 billion.
Mtumodzi served as director of information in the Ministry of Information between 2009 and 2010. He also worked as State House Press Officer under the Bingu wa Mutharika regime as well as serving as senior deputy principal secretary in the Ministry of Disability and Elderly Affairs.
Before going into the civil service, Mtumodzi was a politician as secretary general of New Dawn for Africa party whose president was Thom Chiumia and treasure general was Ken Ndanga.
As a journalist, Mtumodzi together with Chiumia had run different newspaper publications including the defunct The Sun and The Informer. He also worked with Malawi’s media giant Times Group and previously had stints with news organisations such as Power FM 101, The Enquirer and Financial Observer.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :