Salima First Grade Magistrate Court on Friday sentenced 47-year-old William Mponda to 15 months in jail for ordering fellow vendors to pelt stones at Malawi Police officers who wanted the vendors to relocate to a new market site.
Police Prosecutor, Sub Inspector Hanter Masamba, told the court that Mponda was Chairperson for Maudzu Fish Market at Kamuzu Road in the district and the Salima District Council ordered him and other people to relocate to a new site but they resisted.
According to Salima Police Public Relations Officer, Sub-Inspector Jacob Khembo, on August 31, 2022, police in conjunction with council officials went to enforce the relocation exercise and some vendors found at the selling point were just watching.
“It is reported that when Mponda arrived at the site, he ordered his colleagues to fight back, so, they started pelting stones at the officers, which forced the police to use teargas to disperse the vendors,” said Khembo.
Appearing in court, Mponda through his lawyer, Innocent Kubwalo, denied the charge of proposing violence which contravenes Section 87 of the Penal Code, prompting the state to parade four witnesses who testified against him.
In mitigation, the accused asked for leniency, saying he has family obligations and that had previously helped police in fighting crime in the district while serving as Chairperson of community policing at Kamuzu Road.
However, the state prayed for a stiffer punishment for Mponda, saying his conduct on the day disturbed the business of innocent people and showed the tendency of taking the law into his own hands by advising his colleagues to ignore the council’s plans.
Passing the sentence, Magistrate Antony Banda quashed Mponda’s mitigations and instead concurred with the state for a stiff sentence and ordered the accused to spend fifteen months in prison to set a lesson for others with similar intentions.
Reported by Fostina Mkandawire