"It's shameful that the UDF party wants to take us back to the dark days,"

Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Monday, April 07, 2008

DPP hints at tracking down Muluzi

MKE CHIPALASA - Saturday, April 05, 2008 - 14:01:36

If it is proven that remarks made by UDF national chairman Bakili
Muluzi labeling president Bingu wa Mutharika as fotseke (stupid) last
weekend constitutes sedition, the former president may land in legal
trouble. Director of public prosecutions (DPP) Wezzie Kayira said on
Tuesday his office has not yet established the exact wording of
MuluziÕs remarks against the head of state, saying he was still waiting
for his "colleagues" to look at what actually happened for him to
decide what to do. Kayira was responding to a question on whether
MuluziÕs remark against the reigning head of state was sedition and
what his office was doing about it. Muluzi labeled president Bingu wa
Mutharika was stupid Fotseke (stupid) for saying Muluzi and MCP
president John Tembo were his sons. The former president said at the
rally in Liwonde, broadcast live on his Joy Radio, MutharikaÕs
reference of him and MCP president John Tembo as his son was derogatory
and impudence, saying he did not believe he was a son of Mutharika and
called the incumbent stupid to that effect. The former president went
further to say Mutharika was "fooling himself" if he believed that
Muluzi was his son. UDF spokesperson Mary Kaphwereza Banda claimed on
Thursday that she did not listen to MuluziÕs speech and referred the
matter to the partyÕs secretariat. But the partyÕs secretary general
Kennedy Makwangwala could not be reached on his mobile phone as it went
unanswered. However, Mutharika at a press conference on Monday a day
after coming from PeopleÕs Republic of China said when he calls people
his sons, he was not being derogatory but was using the word as a form
of language. He has also previously stated that as head of State he
considers himself as a father of every citizen. "As of now there is
nothing happening but when there is something, we will tell you. We are
waiting for our friends to look at what actually was said so that we
analyze things, said Kayira. Asked on whether "our friends" means
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra), Kayira laughed and
said: "Yes, our friends like those." He however said during rallies
politicians say anything and sometimes it was good to pretend that you
did not hear them. Kayira said although this is the case, such
politicians need to be told that such statements were not proper. He
did not say how politicians should be told this. A government lawyer
who pleaded anonymity said on Wednesday government could not pick
Muluzi for any charges this time because of the lection, saying people
would see it as a ploy to bar him from contesting. "There is no one now
who can arrest Muluzi after [Gustave] Kaliwo arrested him over the K1.4
billion case. Government is afraid because any move to track down
Muluzi, even when he is the wrong, would be seen as
politically-motivated. Muluzi can say anything now because government
fears the aftermath of his arrest now in view of the coming elections,"
said the lawyer who admitted labeling a sitting president was an act of
sedition. In 2006 the ACB arrested Muluzi over the K1.4 billion case
and appeared before the ACB offices in Blantyre at a time government
was struggling to have the 2006/07 national budget passed. Analysts
described the arrest as ill-timed and president Bingu wa Mutharika
suspended Kaliwo accusing him of lack of "discipline". The president,
however, did not explain what he meant by "discipline". A few months
later, former DPP Ishmael Wadi discontinued MuluziÕs case, a move which
attracted MutharikaÕs ire who eventually asked Wadi during a political
rally in Lilongwe to resign for discontinuing a case without proper
consultations. Lat year government, according to an ACB source at the
time, wanted to Muluzi for a seditious statement he made on September 2
at a rally in Nkhotakota that as far as he was concerned, Malawi did
not have a president. "Government believes MuluziÕs statement in
Nkhotakota was a clear case of sedition. So the arrest for the two
charges would have been carried out together," said the source at the
time. The source further said what Muluzi had propagated was a blatant
disregard of the Supremacy of the Constitution, which protects the
office of the president against any ridicule as a dully elected
officer. Dean of Law School at chancellor college Charles Mhango
confirmed at the time that what the former president uttered was
seditious and if he were to be taken to task, he would get convicted
for it. "According to section 51 (1) of the penal code, this is
sedition, which tries to demean or cause dissatisfaction or hatred or
contempt against the president," said Mhango. He dismissed reports that
MuluziÕs speech was treasonous as section 38 of the penal code says
because it was not intended to overthrow the president. Mhango added
that a case of sedition as uttered by Muluzi was similar to what UDF
gurus Macdonald Symon and Abubakar Mbaya were charged of and tried for.
But when asked whether he was aware the ACB wanted to pick Muluzi over
his statement during the Nkhotakota rally, Sam Mpasu who was UDF
spokesperson then giggled and said: "There is nothing wrong [seditious]
with that. It is just like in a family where a wife would say she is
not married if the husband does not buy essential commodities like salt
and soap." Meanwhile, the ACB has said it is about to conclude probing
MuluziÕs K1.4 billion case. Apart from this case, the ACB is also
probing Muluzi for allegedly bribing opposition MPs through his UDF
national campaign director Clement Stambuli and the partyÕs strategist
Humphreys Mvula, who were allegedly used as conduits to support his
foiled Open and Third Terms bills in parliament in 2002

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