Malawi:‘Dissident’ lawyer, Kasambara, out on bail

His legal counsel, Wapona Kita, said he had picked Kasambara up from Chichiri on a bail award at around 15:20pm today (Wednesday), after the first bail granted to him by Magistrate Innocent Nebi of Blantyre Magistrates Court yielded no results.

Prison authorities argued they do not release inmates after 3pm for security reasons.

“Ralph is out on bail, just picked him from Chichiri Prison now,” wrote Kita through the Youth Association for the Restoration of Democracy in Malawi (YARDEMA) Facebook account. The group, which started on the social forum, is registered and has a wide membership.

On Tuesday Kita said: “Police have chosen to defy the court order as of now. Was with the head of CID and she says her team is right now at our offices and Ralph’s home doing the searches. She says she will decide on the way forward after the searches. Several people by Chichiri Prison singing praise songs and there is heavy police presence.”

Kasambara, a former Attorney General in the President Bingu wa Mutharika administration, is a fierce critic of the government, asking it to take quick action over the continued strike by junior judicial workers.

“This strike is causing a lot of misery amongst people,” he said. He is also known for representing the poor and those threatened by authorities with legal services.

Government spokeswoman Patricia Kaliati argued the president aid those who are sabotaging the economy should be arrested. Is Petra suggesting that Kasambara is sabotaging the economy?” She was reacting to sentiments from the People’s Transformation Party (Petra) president Kamuzu Chibambo who on Tuesday told journalists in Blantyre Kasambara’s arrest was part of government’s ploy to divert attention from the socio-economic issues facing Malawi.

Kasambara was quoted in the local press last weekend calling for the impeachment of Mutharika, calling the president a ‘tin-pot dictator’ who is behind human rights abuses.

“Malawians must understand that the person they employed as the President of their country and gave him terms and conditions of service as the Constitution has defiled the conditions of service,” he charged, asking Malawians to make use of the two options they have – ask Mutharika to resign or impeach him as ‘he wants to be a dictator’.

Kasambara was picked up alongside other four people and the bail condition ask the suspects to deposit K20,000 each, produce one surety bonded to the sum of K50,000 not cash and report to Southern Region Police every Friday.

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