The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) has written the office of Attorney General to consolidate charges for some suspects to avoid a perception that government is ‘persecuting’ them.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe confirmed that he received the letter but refused to give further details.
He said: “All I can say is that I have received the letter, but will not comment for now.”
In the letter dated August 28 2020 and signed by its executive director Sylvester Namiwa, the organisation observed that the repeated arrests of some suspects may give the new Tonse Alliance administration a bad name; hence, the move to seek intervention of the chief legal adviser to government to look into the issue.
Reads the letter in part: “Such tendencies which are currently being displayed by the law enforcement agencies are giving an impression of political persecution, and they are reflecting very badly on the Tonse Alliance administration, for which you, sir, are its chief legal adviser. We do not want to believe that your office, sir, has given the nod for such tendencies to be executed by the security agencies,
“If indeed such tendencies do not have the blessing of your office, sir, then we are afraid that we have law enforcement agencies in the country which do not respect the office of the Attorney General, a development that will in the long run plunge the country into crisis.”
Cdedi cited two suspects answering different charges in court, former president Peter Mutharika’s personal bodyguard Norman Chisale and Isaac Jomo Osman who have both been arrested four times and three times back to back, respectively.
According to Cdedi, the consolidation of charges has been done in the past where suspects were brought to court with multiple offences and they were charged consecutively.
“Cdedi would like to reiterate its earlier position that government is at liberty to prosecute all the people that contravened the law without fear or favour. But these consecutive arrests have the potential to bring fear in the hearts of many peace-loving Malawians.
“We further do not want to have a feeling that Malawi is now drifting into a police State, and neither should we be made to remember the dark past of the infamous one-party regime which was known for detentions,” reads the letter.