Police in Lilongwe have released Bon Kalindo on police bail barely hours after re-arresting him in Zomba and driven 300 kilometres away to the Capital City.
Police sources say Kalindo was released on Monday evening “following orders from above”.
Kalindo has been leading anti-government protests in all major cities and towns under the Concerned Citizens banner. They have been holding peaceful demonstrations over the rising cost of living.
He was arrested on Friday in Mangochi and charged with publication of false statements when he allegedly said former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, who shot himself at Parliament Building a couple of months ago, was in fact ‘killed’ by the government. He also claimed during demonstrations in Mangochi last Friday that he knew the people behind a spare of Albino killings.
The Zomba Magistrates Court released him on bail on Monday but he was re-arrested soon thereafter. The Police said they had arrested him for malicious damage following violence and looting in Lilongwe during previous demonstrations. They also said Kalindo was a money laundering suspect.
Lawyer for Kalindo, Gilbert Khonyongwa told Nyasa Times he was not aware his client had been released on police bail.
“I will have to cross-check with my colleagues and the authorities. Otherwise, what I know is that he has been rearrested on allegations of malicious damage that occurred in Lilongwe during the demonstrations that he organised. I have also heard of money laundering. I have not seen the charge sheet so I can’t comment much,” said Khonyongwa on Monday evening.
The lawyer said re-arresting him is the right of the state but looking at the circumstances, the State had other less harsh processes that it could have explored with the same result.
“It could have given him police bail or serve him with summons to attend court on a specific day to answer to the charges.
In my view the whole issue of taking an accused person to Zomba and after bail quickly re-arrest and haul him back to Lilongwe is totally unnecessary.
“If the state wanted to demonstrate that it has power to flex, it has made its point. We shall proceed to apply for bail in Lilongwe and wherever he shall be taken to after that,” said the lawyer.
Deputy National Chairman for the Concerned Citizens Movement, Levy Luwemba said whether or not Kalindo is arrested, the scheduled demonstrations in Zomba on Thursday, December 16, will go ahead.
“It is within our constitutional right to demonstrate to the Tonse Alliance government of President Lazarus Chakwera that we are not happy with the way they are governing this country. Until all our grievances are addressed, we will continue to mobilize the masses to force this government to hear our cries. Life in Malawi has become real tough and unbearable,” said Luwemba on Monday in an interview in Blantyre.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :