Monday, September 7, 2009

Imprison Chakuamba for attacking Lhomwes

This grey-haired re-cycled politician known as Gwanda Chakuamba belongs to jail just like his colleague Bakili Muluzi. He shouldn't be spared, convicts belong to jail.

By Chachacha Munthali

In April this year, some four people stood before a magistrate in Mzuzu accused of the serious charge of armed robbery.

In mitigation, one of the accused, Christopher Chinula, rolled out his aspirations before the bemused magistrate once he served his sentence. Chinula, a 19-year old, pleaded with the magistrate to spare him a lengthy sentence as he wanted to come out young and assist in the development of the country as he had never done so.

The magistrate, rightly so, disagreed and chided him for his ambitions and told him he should have thought of them first before engaging in the crime Chinula got 21 years for his troubles.

One of his co-accused, 41-year old Joe Nyirongo, pleaded for mercy before the court, saying he had three wives, eight children, was development conscious (whatever that means) and had been a good citizen except from that case.

The magistrate’s version of mercy was to reward him with a 21-year jail term.

I was reminded of the case by the decision in the Gwanda Chakuamba case. The retired politician (?) stood accused of fermenting tribal hatred, as it were, for allegedly suggesting that Alhomwe should be well-beaten whenever one found them as they had become so pompous following the formation of their cultural heritage group, Mulhako Wa Alhomwe.

It’s the one charge Chakuamba vehemently denies. A magistrate in Nkhotakota, however, found him guilty but spared him a conviction because-believe him if you will-of his old age.

Now, Gwanda is 78 and that’s not a young age by anyone’s mathematics. Would he have been fines? If yes, what has a fine got to do with age? Would he have been jailed? If yes, who are the jails for?
Teenagers? Is there a cut-off age when one can be jailed or one can’t?

I am not advocating for him to be jailed but old age, in my view, falls short of a ground for discharging anyone-even if that is in the Penal Code. If an old man can commit a crime, he must dance to the music.

There are some people in jail who are far much older than Gwanda and perhaps it’s time they got reprieves in one way or another.

Intriguingly, our laws are silent on when can stop aspiring for elected public office. A 78-year-old man can stand for Parliament, the presidency even, but the same person cannot go to jail because of old age. Managing the affairs of the state might not be some back-breaking job but it ain’t a holiday either- The Sunday Times, August 30, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. mbuya thokozani kukalamba but next time it will be something else.