Kabwila: her bail extended to June 30

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP)’s Members of Parliament (MPs), Jessie Kabwira, Peter Chankhwatha and Ulemu Msungama had on Monday and Tuesday their bails for the alleged treason and sedition charges extended to June 30, 2017 pending police’s thorough investigation on the matter.

This is the ninth time the Malawi police have extended the bail application which has led to some quarters of the society question the legality of the case wondering whether the state has enough evidence to take the trio to court.

This means that the bail condition will close a year and half by June when the police are expected to have a final decision on the matter.

Both Kabwira and Msungama last week applied for judicial review on the matter questioning the decisions of the Inspector General of Police (IG) and Attorney General (AG) to arrest them without evidence.

Justice Healy Potani of Blantyre High Court has set February 14 for the hearing where the MCP officials are challenging the state for keeping extending their bail arguing that the case was not done in good faith.

Gustavo Kaliwo, a lawyer representing the three told The Maravi Post at Area 30’s Police Headquarters in the capital Lilongwe after trio’s bail application was extended that the police action amounted to a continued violation of the accused persons’ human rights especially their freedom of association.

Kaliwo however expressed gratitude that the court has set a date for the review of the matter saying his clients have valid evidence against the state to vacate the case.

Kaliwo who is also MCP’s Secretary General observed that sadly government was wasting taxpayers’ money on the matter saying the money could have been channeled to improving services delivery like the impoverished health sector.

“The bail has again been extended to June 30, 2017, meaning a year and half will elapse without the state taking my clients to court. This is very bad in our democracy. It shows clearly that the state does not have evidence on matter,” said Kaliwo.

“This is the reason we applied for a judicial review on the case that the IG and AG must justify the decision of arresting my client. Fortunately, Justice Potani has ordered the duo to respond before February 8, 2017, and the judge has set February 14 for the judicial hearing on the matter,” he added.

“We will go on with the case until it is closed no matter how many delaying tactics the state might use to frustrate us. The general public is the one to make judgment on the conduct of our police and asking them which criminal justice they follow”, said the trio’s lawyer.

There was no immediate comment from James Kadadzera National Police Spokesperson over the continued extension of bail application.

Both Kabwira and Chankhwatha were in their second police appearances cleared to travel outside the country on official duties as Members of Parliament (MPs).

According to the police bail sheet the three MCP officials are said to have been plotting to topple President Peter Mutharika through a WhatsApp conversation on ways to curtail the move. Since then, the Malawi media has been  awash with different versions on the trio’s real charges as reports indicate that Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale didn’t not endorse the arrest of the MCP officials but rather it was Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Samuel Tembenu who sanctioned the arrest the move which has cornered the police on how to proceed with the case.

After the arrest of the three, Inspector General of Police (IG) Lexen Kachama through the press conference confessed to the public that the police did not have proper charges for them saying their arrest was a mere warning to what they were discussing on WhatsApp.