MCP) administrative secretary Portipher Chidaya and party president John Temboâ€™s long-time driver, William Phakamisa, were on Tuesday found guilty of beating Lilongwe North MP Titus Malipa and smashing Dowa West MP Abel Kayembeâ€™s vehicle.
Â The two were convicted alongside Patrick Moyo, Grace Masamba and PolipherKachitsa after their arrest on July 1 2009 following a fracas at Malawi Congress Party (MCP) headquarters in Lilongwe when a group of Task Force for Leadership Change organised a demonstration to force Tembo to resign.
First grade magistrate Cecilia Onsewa said the State had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Chidaya, Phakamisa and Moyo took part in unlawful wounding of Malipa while Phakamisa and Kachitsa participated in smashing of Kayembeâ€™s vehicle.
Masamba and Moyo were also found guilty of assault causing bodily harm while Lucy Kalebe was acquitted as the police never disputed her alibi for the day of the fracas.
Police prosecutor Prescott Mwayiulipo asked the court to mete out stiff sentences, saying the incident damaged the image of Malawian politics. He said the freedom to participate, express and assemble according to oneâ€™s wishes is protected in the Constitution.
Defence lawyer Gift Nankhuni said the conviction alone was enough punishment as their convictsâ€™ political careers were on hold for seven years and that their chances of employment were now almost zero.
â€œFurther, the court should take into account their advanced ages, that this is their first offence despite being in politics for long and more importantly that the offence was committed at their offices as the other group found them there,â€ Nankhuni said.
Onsewa said she would sentence the convicts at 2pm on Friday.