Written by Chinsinsi Cheketa:
Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Masauko Chamkakala has informed President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of his decision to discontinue a case involving three Ndirande Township residents in Blantyre who were facing charges for blocking and stoning the president’s convoy last Friday.
The individuals, Pearson Chimimba and Hector Ndawala, were arrested on Monday, while Lucy Namba was arrested on Tuesday night. They faced three counts: intention to endanger the safety of persons traveling by road, criminal negligence, and failing to stop for the State President.
They appeared before Principal Resident Magistrate Godfrey Balaka on Wednesday, during which the formal charges and bail application were presented.
However, the state, represented by prosecutor Damiano Kaputa, requested the police to continue detaining the suspects for the next seven days to complete their investigations.
Despite arguments from their lawyers, Chancy Gondwe and Alexious Kamangira, stating that their clients are Malawians and cannot interfere with investigations, Principal Resident Magistrate Godfrey Balaka adjourned the case until Friday of this week.
While acknowledging that any threat to the president’s convoy is a serious offense, Chamkakala, in an interview with Umunthu FM, still, expressed his lack of persuasion that the prosecution of this particular instance would serve the interests of justice or honor the spirit of the law.
“Yes, I can confirm that, using the powers vested in my office by the Constitution, I have discontinued this case,” said Chamkakala. ”
“I have since informed the President of this decision, for he appointed me to make such determinations in the interests of justice and in the spirit of serving Malawians,” he added.
The presidential convoy was blocked by a funeral procession at HHI roundabout, which was en route from Ndirande to HHI cemetery. The procession, chanting songs and asking the president to stop in respect of the funeral, lasted for not less than 20 minutes.
In a previous incident, former Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Commissioner Linda Kunje and her driver Jones Tewesa were convicted by the Zomba Chief Resident Magistrate’s Court.
They blocked President Chakwera’s convoy on December 10, 2020, in Zomba district and were found guilty of criminal negligence under Section 246 of the Penal Code. Kunje was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, while Tewesa received a 15-month custodial sentence.
However, Kunje was later pardoned as part of Christmas celebrations, according to a letter signed by the then Minister of Homeland Security Jean Sendeza.