Civil society organisations (CSOs) that obtained an injunction restraining Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda from executing official duties, yesterday filed contempt of court charges against the minister at the High Court in Mzuzu.
The CSOs’ lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa confirmed to have filed for a leave to proceed with committal proceedings for Chaponda.
The minister two weeks ago travelled to Germany on alleged official duties which contravened the dictates of his injunction, hence the CSOs decision to drag him to court for contempt. He sneaked into the country last Wednesday through Chileka International Airport.
Said Mwafulirwa: “I can confirm that the CSOs have filed for leave to proceed with committal proceedings for Honourable Chaponda. The Judge is yet to set a date for the same. At the moment, I cannot divulge details in the application, but can confirm to you that we have applied to the court.”
One of the CSO leaders, Moses Mkandawire of the Church and Society Programme of CCAP Livingstonia Synod, said in an earlier interview that they were dismayed by Chaponda’s action.
Read More: Court deals govt blows
“We expect each and every one of us to respect the Constitution, to respect court orders. But what sort of a society are we creating if a minister chooses to deliberately defy a court order? Is the law just meant for the poor, those being governed and not the authority?
“Remember, the Constitution of Malawi is founded upon underlying principles that include under Section 12 that all legal and political authority of the State derives from the people of Malawi and shall be exercised in accordance with it solely to serve and protect their interests. And the people stopped him from working, but he had decided, otherwise, so on whose authority is he working?” he queried.
When contacted, Chaponda, who sounded jovial, said he was in a meeting and would call back later, but did not do so until press time.