PAC calls for fair trial on Malawi ‘coup plotters’

The Public Affairs Committee (PAC)has urged  on authorities to ensure that opposition DPP and government officials arrested after a Commission of Inquiry Report exposed attempts to circumvent constitutional order last April soon after the death of former Malawi president Bingu wa Mutharika, should receive a fair trial.

The State on Wednesday formally charged with treason DPP interim president Peter Mutharika, Economic Planning and Development Minister Goodall Gondwe, interdicted chief secretary to Malawi Government, Bright Msaka, and others arrested on Monday.

PAC in a statement issued by acting chairperson Sheikh Imuran Shareef Mahommed   said it has been keenly following the developments and note that “the due process of the law is being followed.”

However, PAC said the arrest of DPP officials and others “should not be a source of violence” as witnessed since the arrests on Monday.

Treason suspect Peter Mutharika at the court
Treason suspect Peter Mutharika at the court

“We would like to call upon Malawians to allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than opting for violent activities,” said PAC in the statement.

PAC also sounded a similar appeal made by the country’s flagship daily newspaper, The Nation, in its editorial that DPP officials and supporters should give peace a chance by peacefully attending the court proceedings without putting other people’s lives and property at risk.

Fair trial

PAC called on authorities to ensure due process of the law and the fair administration of justice, saying they should not turn the arrests into political vendetta by failure to observe rights of those in custody.

“PAC believes that the right to fair trial in the current arrests as outlined in Section 42 of the Republican Constitution should be respected,” reads the statement.

“ It  is  the  position  of  PAC  that  the due   process  of  the  law  must  be  followed   adequately ,  and any political  manipulation  should  be  avoided  at  all  costs.”

The faith based institution, said it believes that “an authentic democracy is not merely the result of a formal observation of a set of rules but is the fruit of a convinced acceptance of the values that inspire democratic procedures: the dignity of every human person, the respect of human rights, commitment to the common good as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life.”

The organization urged Malawians to wait for the courts to dispense justice.

Meanwhile, the State has engaged private practice lawyers to prosecute the alleged coup plotters. The prosecuting team includes Apoche Itimu from the Ministry of Justice, former DPP during the Mutharika regime Ishmael Wadi and lawyers Ralph Mhone and Lughani Mautwa.

The suspects have been freed on bail.

DPP supporters at the court
DPP supporters at the court for moral support

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