BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost) – The High Court in Blantyre on Wednesday dismissed a treason case the state brought to it against the main opposition Malawi Congress Party’s (MCP) Members of Parliament (MPs), Jessie Kabwira, Peter Chankhwatha, and shadow MP Ulemu Msungama, following state counsel’s failure to tender evidence against the three.
Judge Healey Potani upheld the lawyer representing the three accused, Gustov Kaliwo’s application. The appeal sought the court’s intervention over the matter after the state failed to take them to court, but only continually extended their bail applications.
Judge Potani ruled that the state rushed in arresting the MCP officials without having substantive evidence; the court therefore, cautioned the state from trumping up charges against its critics. The resulted in the state causing the lose of taxpayers money through compensation that will inevitably follow.
Judge Potani therefore, ordered the state to pay all the court costs relating to the case as the three MCP are preparing to file compensation lawsuits.
State Lawyer Apoche Itimu, did not object the court ruling, and said her legal team did not have enough evidence against the three people before state proceeded with the case.
Kaliwo, who is also MCP Secretary-General (SG), told reporters outside the courthouse that the ruling should act a caution, and lesson to government before it proceeds to persecute people on political grounds.
The Kaliwo said the case has wasted hard-earned taxpayers’ money, which could have been channeled to other equally-important needs for Malawians.
“This is what we have been saying from the day my clients were arrested, that the state didn’t have evidence. This should be a big lesson for the state, with its continued behavior of fabricating charges against opposition parties,” Kaliwo said.
In reacting to the verdict, Kabwira who is also MP for Salima North-West constituency, expressed gratitude for justice the court demonstrated. She said she owes appreciation to all Malawians who stood behind her trial since February, 2016.
Kabwira disclosed that will seek compensation for her arrest arguing that treason charges tarnished the three MCP members’ images both locally and internationally.
According to the police bail sheets, the three MCP officials are said to have been plotting to topple President Peter Mutharika leadership through a WhatsApp conversation on ways to achieve the said plan.
Since then, the Malawi media has be a washed with different versions on the three MCP members’ real charges as reports indicate that Attorney-General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale, and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Mary Kachale, did not endorse the arrest of the MCP officials but rather it was Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Samuel Tembenu who sanctioned the arrest. This move cornered the police on how to proceed with the case, the conflicting social media reveal.
After the arrest of the three, Inspector-General of Police (IG), Lexen Kachama through a press conference, told the public that the police did not have the proper charges for them, and said their arrest was a mere warning to what was being discussed on WhatsApp.