Malawi’s former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara got a stiff warning against using threats to persecutors after he said he would slap Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale after he got objected on a question he posed to a witness in the shooting case of former Ministry of Finance budget director Paul Mphwiyo.
Kasambara who alongside ex Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Macdonald Kumwembe and businessperson Pika Manondo were found with cases to answer in 2013 shooting lost his cool when he was cross examining Manondo.
He asked Manondo to state how long it would take someone to drive form diversion road going to Mphwiyo’s house which is said to be dumpy road.
In his estimations, Manondo said it could take 7 to 10 minutes.
But Kasambara repeated the question in adding the area of Kanengo, something which did not go well with Kachale.
Kachale said prosecution could have tackled in their submissions but looking at the line of questioning Kasambara was pursuing, they wanted to make their point heard.
But Kasambara backed the reasoning behind the questions buy saying that he wanted to show the distance and time it can take as the call logs of Manondo shows that on the night he was captured to be using Area 43 tower and within a short space of time he was also said to be using Kanengo tower.
But when he got objected by Kachale, the ex Justice Minister said: “My Lord it’s not fair for the state to be making insinuations that the second accused did drive to Area 43 on the said date with VW Golf when it’s on record that the alleged car used was not VW Golf. Let’s be honest enough to say something we have evidence and we can prove than continue making false insinuations.
“It’s painful for the state to be here telling lies based on her false insinuations, and you are lucky it’s in court, if it was outside the court I would have slapped you,”
This rocked down the court yet again with Kachale asking Mtambo that Kasambara had landed himself in contempt of court and that the remarks by Kasambara were meant to undermine her because of she is a woman.
“My Lord, the remarks made by Kasambara are more than contempt of court, they are meant to intimidate me, demeaning the office of DPP just because I’m a woman, it’s a gender issue because I’m a woman that’s why he says he could have slapped me. If it was his fellow man he couldn’t say that knowing they can stand each other outside the court.”
Kasambara defended himself on this by arguing that he did not mean every word of the statement but meant that he would be angry when that was done outside the court of law.
Judge Michael Mtambo then warned Kasambara against making such statements again.
In January this year, Kasambara and Kachale were also involved in a similar row in court after he got objected on his line of questioning of fifth witness in the case, Keaton Gani
Mphwiyo’s shooting is said to have led to revelations into massive looting of funds at the capital hill, a scandal better known as Cashgate.
He continues to cross examine Manondo today at the High Court in Lilongwe.