The Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court in Mzuzu yesterday acquitted Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor (North) Christopher Mzomera Ngwira in a political violence case.
Ngwira and others were answering six charges in relation to attacks at a solidarity rally for then opposition parties led by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) leader President Lazarus Chakwera at Chibavi in the city on March 20 2016.
The others that were acquitted are DPP deputy director of operations Joe Nyirongo, popularly known as Big Joe, and Lumbani Munthali.
In his ruling, senior resident magistrate Peter Kandulu said the State had failed to prove that Ngwira and the others committed the offences.
He said: “The State should always strive to do per excellence work by effecting arrests to those whose evidence reveals a probability, based on the findings of independent investigators, that the suspects might have committed the offence.
“In this case, the court was told that some arrests were effected after they had received directives from the police headquarters. To the surprise of the court, those that gave the directives were not paraded to give their evidence against the accused persons.”
However, three other accused persons, George Mwamtobe, Thembisile Nkosi and Fizwel Zimba were found with a case to answer.
Ngwira’s lawyer, Christon Ghambi, said the ruling was a victory for justice.
“My client is a free man now on this case. Some people wished that he is jailed again, but you can see that the State failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.”
Among others, the five were being accused of causing bodily grievous harm, unlawful assembly and proposing violence.
The 2016 rally was addressed by Chakwera representing MCP, Alliance for Democracy leader Enoch Chihana, and then People’s Party (PP) third vice-president Kamlepo Kalua.
It turned into a battlefield when unidentified panga-wielding individuals, suspected to be Nyirongo and 14 others, caused mayhem by hacking three people and damaging some vehicles.
Ngwira is already serving a four-year jail term following his conviction on corruption.
He was prosecuted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau for diverting K650 000 from the Local Development Fund and although he had earlier reimbursed some of the money, he was found guilty of abusing public office on September 28 last year.