By 4pm on Tuesday, lawyers representing the 11, who also include DPP interim president Peter Mutharika, Minister of Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe and the interdicted chief secretary to the government Bright Msaka, said they were still in the dark on why their clients were not being brought before court.
Mutharika and 10 others were arrested on Monday following a Commission of Inquiry Report that exposed attempts to circumvent constitutional order in last April’s power transition, have remained in police custody after they failed to appear before court on Tuesday to be formally charged.
“We were told that [the suspects] will be taken to court today [Tuesday], but we do not have any information as to what is happening,” said Frank Mbeta, one of the lawyers representing the suspects.
Other lawyers for the suspects include Kalekeni Kaphale, Samuel Tembenu, Noel Chalamanda and Chancy Gondwe.
Mbeta ruled out the possibility of pushing for a police bail. He said they were waiting for the suspects to appear in court where the bail applications would also be presented.
Earlier, Kaphale told The Nation in a telephone interview that police had not moved anything on the case.
Besides Mutharika, Gondwe and Msaka, Minister of Information and Civic Education Moses Kunkuyu on Monday said the list of the 11 top officials arrested also includes former Cabinet ministers Patricia Kaliati, Symon Vuwa Kaunda, Henry Mussa and Jean Kalirani. Former deputy ministers Kondwani Nankhumwa and Nicholas Dausi are also on the list as are Msaka’s former deputy Necton Mhura and former presidential guard commander Duncan Mwapasa.
Gondwe remained in hospital where he was referred to on Monday after his collapse in a police cell.
DPP supporters turn violent
The transfer of Mutharika from Blantyre to Lilongwe saw the drama of the arrests shifting to the capital city, especially around Lumbadzi Police Station where Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters engaged in fierce fight with the police from Monday night up to mid-morning on Tuesday.
The battles left one police vehicle, a Toyota Prado registration RU 2097 belonging to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), with smashed windows and its front bumper removed.
The violence erupted after people identified as medical doctors visited the police station allegedly on a mission to assess Mutharika’s health.
Mutharika’s aide, Ben Phiri, said they became suspicious with their claims and we told the officer-in-charge not to let them in.
Among those beaten up were a senior CID officer and two of the said doctors.
Mbeta confirmed the incident, but declined to comment on the issue.
Despite the earlier fights and tear gas, scores of DPP sympathisers camped at the police station for almost the whole day with several senior party members, including former first lady Callista Mutharika, former minister of Lands and Housing Yunus Mussa and several DPP members of Parliament joining them.
The late Bingu wa Mutharika’s daughter—Tapiwa, Msaka’s daughter and Vuwa Kaunda’s children were also at the station for almost the entire day.