So Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale wanted The Nation jailed for merely telling Malawians what they needed to know?
For the record, The Nation’s crime – according to Kachale – was to tell the world that Chief Cashgater Oswald Lutepo had some neurotic issues. How that begins to be criminal only Mme Kachale knows.
But no, Madame, the newspaper did nothing wrong; it only did its job – informing the nation.
The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi guarantees citizens of this country the right to access information that is held by the State. It also guarantees freedom of speech and expression.
The public, for example, has the right to know why particular law-breakers, for instance, are not brought before court. The State has the duty to explain to the law-abiding majority why the suspected law-breakers are not being tried.
We have several high-profile cases whose very future hinges on the astuteness of the office of the DPP. We have the right to know why, for example, murder cases are not tried and why so many suspects are released on bail and yet they are not being tried at all.
On the same score, we also have the right to know why Oswald Lutepo could not appear in court to personally attend his trial in the attempted murder and conspiracy to murder cases.
If Mme. DPP does not know, Lutepo is at the centre of a case that has made Western capitals withhold millions of much-needed dollars. Malawi is on its knees because of ‘cashgate’. So Malawians and the world at large need to know what is happening to the guy who forced the whole nation on its knees.
Therefore, Mme. DPP, by reporting about Lutepo’s alleged incapacity, the press was simply doing its fundamental duties – informing the public the reasons why the Chief Cashgater was never personally attending his trial in the attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges.
So what is wrong with that, Mme. DPP?
The DPP has no duty to stifle the flow of information by citing some obscure – if not archaic – sub judice laws. The sub judice rule must only apply in situations where the media comment on issues that would have the effect of influencing the outcome of a court case.
How does merely reporting on the health condition of an accused person and findings of health specialists begin to influence a judge in the determination of a case?
At a time when Malawians are fighting for the right to access of information, supposedly young professionals like Mme. Kachale should not be in the fore front in suppressing information.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :