… activist says he cannot afford to pay
The Supreme Court of Appeal has ordered activist Charles Kajoloweka to pay government K21 million for taking Former Minister of Agriculture George Chaponda to court over the maize gate scandal.
Kajoloweka and other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) took government and Chaponda to court in 2017 over President Peter Mutharika’s failure to fire Chaponda from cabinet at a time the then minister was being investigated in relation to the maizegate scandal. The CSOs lost the case at the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered Kajoloweka to pay Chaponda and the Government K21.6 million as legal costs for the case.
According to the court, 17.3 million is professional fees, K1.5 million is for disbursements while K2.8 million is value added tax.
In reaction to the fine, Kajoloweka said he has no means to meet such ridiculously high costs.
He said it is unfortunate that the court is punishing him for approaching it on a matter of public interest and warned that such decisions will continue to scare citizens from challenging organised impunity.
“These decisions seem to be tactfully aimed at arming the corrupt ruling elite and Government to muzzle those challenging their criminal enterprises, and sadly from the courts! It is a new form of shrinking civic space.
“The apparent scheme is to break our resolve, intimidate and shut us down so that impunity can thrive with pomp and ceremony without any sense of responsibility to the nation beyond our time,” he wrote on Facebook.
The activist challenged that the fine will not stop him from raising the voice of reason against theft of public resources.
Kajoloweka said: “We are engaged in a generational liberation mission that no club of fraudsters or their after-the-fact accomplices will stop.”