In a movie-like drama, about 30 armed police officers stormed lawyer Ralph KasambaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s house in Blantyre and re-arrested him two hours after his release from Chichiri Maximum Security Prison.
He was taken back to the prison where crowds of well-wishers and family members quickly gathered outside the facility. They wanted to monitor the situationÃ¢â‚¬â€having heard that Kasambara would be moved to another location.
Riot police, who were quickly marshalled in to monitor the situation, dispersed the crowd as darkness fell. Friends and family members were also overheard questioning why a high-powered police team from National Police Headquarters came in to attend to an allegedÃ‚Â procedural infringement.
The arrest, at about 5.30 pm, came after Kasambara and his associates had walked out of custody at about 3 pm to a heroÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s welcome in town and at home.
Said his lawyer Wapona Kita: “They [police] said procedures were not followed. But we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what they mean because we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t come up with the procedures. They [police] do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kasambara was earlier released alongside Arthur Chikankheni, Mayamiko Kadango, Brian Magoya, Patrick Gadama and Ali Kaka after spending two days in police and prison custody. They were charged with assault occasioning bodily harm on a trio who reportedly attempted to assassinate Kasambara and petrol-bomb his offices and residence in Blantyre on Monday.
Kasambara and his associates left prison premises in a colourful convoy of about 20 vehicles that drove through the streets of Blantyre, with Kasambara in the lead vehicle, exposed through the sun roof opening of a yellow Mini Cooper en route to his residence in Nyambadwe.
Earlier in the morning, police refused to acknowledge or comply with the court bail given to Kasambara amid the ongoing Judiciary support staff strike that has paralysed the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s justice delivery system for six weeks now.
In an interview soon after his release, Kasambara told The Nation his legal team did not bulldoze its way through the court process, but simply followed the procedures like the police, who obtained a search warrant for his house and office, through the same courts.
Before his short-lived release, Kasambara said in a press statement he would not be deterred from opposing President Bingu wa MutharikaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tit-for-tat policy which he uses to suppress and oppress Malawians with terror, intimidation tactics, beatings, killings and arrests by using Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Youth Cadets and the police.
A brief commotion ensued at the prison premises when reports circulated of an impending transfer of the six suspects to Lilongwe, according to Viva Nyimba, one of KasambaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lawyers.
In an earlier interview, Kita said a high-powered police delegation led by head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Lexa Chalera proceeded to KasambaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office and house to search for a shock stick and offensive weapons. Kita said the search yielded nothing.
Said Kita: “Chalera said she did not recognise the court bail because it was issued at a time the judicial support staff are on a six week strike. We, however, wondered how this could be when they [police] equally obtained a search warrant from the courts during the same strike.”
National police spokesperson Dave Chingwalu said he did not have information on the developments and needed to verify.
- Police re-arrested former attorney general Ralph Kasambara two hours after his release on bail on Wednesday.
- His five associates were left scot-free, according to his lawyer Wapona Kita. But police last evening told Zodiak Broadcasting Station it was not possible to re-arrest all the suspects at the same time.
- The Malawi Law Society is on record as having said KasambaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrest is beyond the police and that they could be getting instructions from some politician.