Blantyre Magistrate court on Thursday released on bail Ndirande-based young man Tumpale Makibinga facing charges of a meme on social media likening powerful First Lady Gertrude Mutharika to cartoon character Rango.
Mwakibinga was arrested on Tuesday. He has been charged with insulting the modesty of a woman, cyber violation and offensive communication but he denied all the charges.
He has denied all the charges.
Regional Prosecutions Officer, Dickens Mwambazi, who is representing the State, asked the court to allow the State keep Mwakibinga for seven more days for them to complete investigations.
But defence lawyer Gloria Mbendera said all the alleged offences were bailable.
“First of all, Section 42 (2e) provides for a right to bail to all accused persons. The State has not demonstrated how releasing him would jeorpadise their investigations. Besides, he has already demonstrated that he is a law-abiding citizen by presenting himself to court when he heard that they were looking for him,” she said.
First Grade Magistrate Tsoka Banda said there is “no compelling reason” for denying Tumpale his right to bail.
However, the court imposed some bail conditions for Mwakibinga including paying a non-cash bond of K100 0o0 and not to post anything on social media relating to Mrs Mutharika.
He has been ordered to be reporting to Southern Region Police offices once a month and to provide one person as a surety.
The court has set trial to commence on 31 May 2019.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) under the banner Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have condemned the arrest of Tumpale as an attempt to intimidate people from expressing thoughts in creative ways.
“In this case, the one who was supposed to complain to police would be the designer of the glasses not the first lady. The police have a lot of more important cases they should be looking at such as the killing and abduction of people with albinism,” Mtambo said referring to the meme that had a caption: “When the designer has watched too much Rango”, HRDC Chairperson, Timothy Mtambo, said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :