Phoya, Atupele cheer up hospitalised president’s critic

Former justice minister Henry Duncan Phoya (HDP) and youthful presidential aspirant Atupele Muluzi on Saturday visited detained lawyer Ralph Kasambara  at Mwaiwathu Hospital in Blantyre to give him moral support.

Kasambara, the former Attorney General, has been moved from jail to the private hospital, where he is being treated under heavy police guard for a heart ailment.

But when Phoya and Muluzi went to the ward where Kasambara was adimitted, several health workers excitedly thronged them.

Phoya: Kasambara is not supposed to be detained

The two members of parliament  stayed with Kasambara for about 45 minutes, cheering him up and urging him to soldier on.

They told him that there is a lot of goodwill for him throughout the country.

Speaking to Nyasa Times correspondent, Phoya who recently joined Malawi Congress Party, called upon the authorities to start respecting the rule of law.

“Strictly speaking Kasambara shouldn’t be under arrest as ruled by the court,” Phoya , a lawyer said.

On his part, Muluzi said he was  gravely concerned  by the  “serious violation” of  Kasambara’s rights  as government to continue to detain him even though bail was dully granted by a competent court of law.

Muluzi said it was important that democracy, good governance, observance of human rights and the rule of law are upheld and preserved in a democratic Malawi.

Stable condition

Meanwhile,  lawyer Wapona Kita said the outspoken opponent of Malawi’s president who had been evacuated to Mwaiwathu hospital on Friday night after developing a serious cardiac condition, was better.

Kita said doctors have said that “the condition is stabilising.”

He informed that government sent two ‘independent’ doctors to examine him .

However, after discovering that these doctors were surgeons and not medical specialists, they were turned away.

Government later sent another Doctor from Queens Elizabeth Central Hospital  to do another “independent examination”.

The regime wants to take Kasambara back to the condemned cell at Zomba Maximum Prison where he was being illegally detained. This will be done depending on the outcome of their independent doctor’s report.

Arrest and bail

Kasambara was arrested Monday after his associates apprehended a gang of alleged government-sponsored thugs sent to petrol bomb his offices in Blantyre. He has since been charged with assault.

High Court judge Godfrey Mwase, Friday afternoon granted him bail, the second bail order for Kasambara after the first one by the Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrates Court was ignored by police and prison authorities.

According to police, the bail order could not be respected because it was obtained irregularly since courts in Malawi are currently on strike.

And Malawi Law Society (MLS) President, John Gift Makhwawa, blamed ruling party politicians for interfering with the police.

“This is a breakdown of the rule of law. This is detention without trial. If police and prison officials were allow to operate professionally they could have respected the court orders,” he said.

In a related development, lawyers – under the tutelage of MLS – Thursday night held a crisis meeting to review the situation and, according to Makhwawa, they would issue a statement on their resolutions later.

Kasambara was President Bingu wa Mutharika’s first Attorney General when he came to power in 2004. The two soon fell out and the outspoken lawyer became the 77-year-old economist-turned-politician’s most acerbic critic.

His arrest came fast on the heels of a publication of hard-hitting interviews in the press where he called Mutharika ‘a tin-pot dictator’ who must resign or be impeached for incompetence and disregard for the Constitution.—(Additional reporting by Ralpheel Tenthani, Pana)

Activists wear t-shirts: Free Ralph Kasambara

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