Insults to President Joyce Banda merit a fine and conviction


Police prosecutor Kingston Mwalughali told the court Chirwa, frustrated that the Department of Immigration had rejected his request for a new passport, threw
a tantrum, blaming government’s bureaucratic red tape on the “stupidity and failure” of President Banda, the southern African country’s first female president.

Mzuzu First Grade Magistrate Lillian Munthali found Chirwa guilty of the offence. She said young people should not take advantage of freedoms and human rights
to disrespect authority and elders in society.

“These freedoms and human rights go with responsibility,” she said.

Coincidentally, President Banda was visiting the northern region this week.

In mitigation, the remorseful Chirwa pleaded with the court for leniency, saying he lost his cool and acted in frustration after having his request rejected
by the Immigration department. He promised he would not repeat the offence.

First Grade Magistrate Munthali convicted him and fined him 15, 000 Malawi kwacha (about US $44) or, in default, to serve nine months in jail.

Chirwa paid the fine.

Civil society activists have been calling for a review of laws that protect the name and the person of the President, saying they run counter to freedom of
expression which is guaranteed under the Constitution.-maravipost

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