Monday, November 16, 2009

Activists hail Kamlepo, Makande punishments

Opposition MDP leader Kamlepo Kalua making one of his seditious speeches that have landed him in jail. Pic by Malawi Digest.

By Emmanuel Sobilika

Prominent Malawi human rights activists and political commentators have hailed the independent judiciary in Malawi for jailing violence perpetrators, opposition UDF deputy Secretary General Hophmally Makande and MDP leader, Kamlepo Kalua.

Both Makande and Kalua were given a 20 months jail sentence by the Zomba Magistrate Court for proposing violence and making seditious remarks earlier this year.

The two convicts have now spent one week in jail suffering on behalf of former president and opposition UDF national chairperson Bakili Muluzi who is now enjoying a full government paid for vacation in the United Kingdom.

The two are suffering in jail for Muluzi because when they committed the offence that has seen them in jail they were doing so in trying to drum up support for Bakili Muluzi ahead of the May 19th Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

A prominent political scientist from the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College said that the conviction of the two politicians should send as a strong warning to people who speak carelessly in public.

“People especially those in public positions should learn to speak with caution when given a platform otherwise they will follow the route that Makande and Kalua have gone through,” he said.

Head of the political think tank, the Institute for Policy Interaction Rafik Hajat said that the conviction of both Makande and Kalua has shown that no human being has absolute right to speech without observing the limits.

“People need no observe limits when making speeches at podiums. The truth is that Malawians are tired of hate speeches at political rallies,” said Hajat.

Political scientist from the University of Mzuzu Noel Mbowela said that Kamlepo Kalua and Hophmally Makande have been convicted for not respecting the country’s laws.

“Both Kalua and Makande have broken the Law and if the magistrate was convinced beyond reasonable doubt then I have no problems with that,” he said.

A week ago, the Zomba acting Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa sentenced the duo to 20 months imprisonment for making seditious remarks and proposing violence.

The magistrate said that the statements uttering by the two at a political rally addressed by Bakili Muluzi were emotive considering that they were also spoken in the Eastern region of the country where political violence was also common.

Usiwa Usiwa said that the statements could have caused people to go violent or getting angry with the incumbent President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika.

Amongst other words that Makande uttered at the rally included, chichitike chichitike, ali ndi mwana agwiritse, mumva zothaitha.

Makande also told the rally that governments in Pakistan, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Kenya changed not through the courts but through acts of violence by the people.

On his part, Kalua appealed to the people at the same rally not to fear limbani mtima and also warned the Malawi Police officers that they have children and relatives and went on further to say tingaope Police? Tingaope Bingu?

In his ruling, the acting chief resident magistrate said that the words uttered by the two could have incited people to violence and cause physical harm to others.

The magistrate said that Makande’s words making references to other world countries that experienced violence were meant to plunge Malawi into lawlessness.

The magistrate warned that although there was freedom of expression in this country, there was need to correct any errors in governance and economic management and not the way the two political leaders conducted themselves.

On March 31st this year, Kamlepo Kalua and Hophmally Makande incited the public to rise against any decision by the independent Malawi Electoral Commission to bar former president Bakili Muluzi from taking part in the May 19th polls.

Muluzi was barred by the Malawi Constitution to seek another unconstitutional third term of office.

Both Kalua and Makande are believed to have been sent by Muluzi to incite the public to rise up against the government on his behalf.

Although Muluzi was present in person at Mangochi Old Airport where the offence was committed, the UDF national leader did not condemn what the two speakers said before Muluzi himself took to the podium.

Former president Bakili Muluzi has on three occasions tried to rape the Malawi Constitution by seeking an unconstitutional third term of office and on all those three occasions, he has failed miserably-Malawi Digest.


  1. Its good to note that although people in Mangochi where these two criminals uttered those seditious comments did not listen to them. This just shows that Malawians in general do not like violence. I commend the people of Mangochi for not following these convicts. Malawians are peaceful and thats what we want to maintain.

  2. I give thumbs up to Nyakwawa Usiwasiwa for standing up for Malawi. We need people like him to punish these enemies of Malawi. But I have a question, is Nyakwawa part of his name of he is mfumu?

  3. It is really sad to imagine that at this point in time Malawi is having political prisoners. To make things worse, are these political analysts of ours really analysing issues before they comment or they are just political commentetors full of political theories in their heads basi?

    One has to look beyond the surface to analyse anything. During campaighn it is normal to have such utterances and this was the case on both side because it is an emotional game indeed. Our political 'analysta' are not analysing at all, they are just going with the crowd. This is common sense. But since common sense is not common any more lets have them around.

    In his ruling the judge was just stating the obviouse but since he is a learned judge, what more can I say? The two will indeed spend some time in jail put what culture are we breeding in Malawi? A culture of fear! Unfortunately what happens is that it works the other way round. It creates a visciouse circle. I know most of u will not understand me since u r looking at the surface.

    Whether one likes it or not, Bingu will not be president for life, there are no permanent positions in life. Can u Imagine the aftermath??

  4. Ungwazi wake kani ndi wanyakula zomwe.

  5. makande and kamlepo fought for multiparty and real democracy. UDF will remain strong . No one can kil UDF because it has strong base. 2014 kamlepo will be justice minister and makande presidential advisor.