Malawi Police have contradicted themselves saying they only arrested opposition parliamentarians, Jessie Kabwila and Peter Louis Chakhwantha, to warn them rather than to charge them for treason, Inspector General of Police, Lexten Kachama, revealed this morning.
The police had announced earlier this week that the two parliamentarians were charged with Treason. But during a press briefing this morning, Lexten Kachama said the police detained Parliament Legal Affairs Committee Chairperson Peter Louis Chakhwantha and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson Jessie Kabwila following what the Inspector General says was “information received from well wishers that the MCP members were plotting a coup and bloodshed”.
Kachama however insisted that there are currently no charges forged against the two.
“Our questioning will determine whether the two have a case to answer, that’s why we didn’t charge those arrested. Since our investigations are on going, we will need to prove beyond reasonable doubt before formally changing the suspects of treason. Will send what we have gathered to Director of Public Prosecution for guidance” said Kachama who also revealed that there was another forth suspect who is currently at large. He however refused to name the fourth suspect.
Kabwila and Chakhwantha were arrested on Monday whereas another MCP member, Ulemu Msungama, was nabbed on Sunday. The latter was said to have been charged with sedition.
— Malawi News Agency (@MwNewsAgency) February 24, 2016
Renowned lawyer, Sunduzwayo Madise, revealed this week the High Court nullified sedition laws on the basis that they contravened with the constitution. He also said the Police did not have mandate to charge someone with treason.
MCP accused government of persecuting political dissidents with trumped up charges. During the presser, Kachama insisted the police were not being towed as a puppet for the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to silence opponents who had called President Peter Mutharika to resign having failed to resuscitate the country from its economic quagmire.