Justice Mponda Free At Last
Justice will always prevail ……Justice Mponda who was arrested by the Malawi Government yesterday has been freed on bail.
He was ordered to pay K10, 000 and that he should be reporting to Blantyre police every Monday, according to his lawyer Chancy Gondwe.
Through its machinery, the Government of Joyce Banda sent two heavy armoured Land Cruisers to net Justice Mponda for publishing articles critical of the government allegedly on Malawi Voice .
He has been given bail and court hearing has been set on the 16th of next month.
There was confusion among the police officers when Mr Mponda’s lawyer was trying to obtain bail as they said were not sure of which crime Mr Mponda has committed.
Malawi Voice has apparently been blacklisted by Joyce Banda’s administration for allegedly publishing their missdeds.
Recently Malawi Voice published an article published that revealed that Joyce Banda had pardoned a serial rapist Agala Festone Kuiwenga, just a month after the High Court had extended his 8 year sentence by one more year due to the gravity of the offence he committed.
She also pardoned George Allan Nyambi, a relation of Senior Chief Nyambi of Machinga. Nyambi was convicted for murder.
However, in an effort to silence the alternative voice, the Malawi Government descended on the media practitioner on charges which include insulting the president, publishing false stories aimed at generating public anger against the president.
Apparently, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ralph Kasambara, conceded in one of the articles published on Nyasatimes that charges placed against Mponda are used to suppress Government critics.
“We all know how these twin offences [sedition or inciting public action against the president] are used by the…administration to harass opposition and civic society leaders; and no such case has been prosecuted to its logical conclusion”, Kasambara said earlier this year.
It is against this background that lawyer for Justice Mponda, Chancy Gondwe, told this blogger that the journalist has been arrested using laws that are no longer in use in democratic Malawi.
“Freedom of expression is the bedrock of any vibrant democracy. The gagging of the media and threats against Media Practitioners is the beginning of autocracy”, Gondwe said.
The jubilant Gondwe further revealed that he was “the happiest man considering that this Justice Mponda’s bail marks the triumph of media freedom”.
Likewise, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has said it is saddened by efforts employed by the Malawi Government to silence the Media; arguing that the Malawi Government is putting up charges against Mponda based on “outmoded pieces of legislation enacted during the colonial era to suppress dissent and promote colonial superiority”.
In the statement, MISA revealed that it “is shocked and deeply saddened with the detention of…Mponda [on the basis of laws which are] archaic and retrogressive for our country”, adding that such laws “have no role to play in a democracy”.
Mponda has been freed by the Lilongwe Magistrate Court.
So far, different commentators and activists agree that the arrest of Mponda has created a black hole on the already dented CV of President Joyce Banda.