Barely a month after naming former president Joyce Banda as his witness in the ongoing Paul Mphwiyo shooting case, former Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier Macdonald Kumwembe has dropped her as one of his witnesses.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, Kumwembe, who is answering attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder charges, confirmed the development, saying inviting the former president would further delay the case.
He said: “It is indeed true that a decision to ask the former president as witness in order to testify in the Mphwiyo shooting case has been withdrawn. This case started in 2013 and up to now it has not been finalised, and if I go into this matter and wanting her [Joyce Banda] to come will further delay the case.
“I just want this case to be concluded and finalised so that I can move on.”
However, Kumwembe —who is co-accused with businessperson Pika Manondo on the two charges and former minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ralph Kasambara on the conspiracy to commit murder charge—has maintained politicians Friday Jumbe and Hophmally Makande as his witnesses despite the two denying taking the stand.
In a separate interview, Manondo’s lawyer John-Gift Mwakhwawa could neither confirm nor deny the new development, saying the matter will be communicated with the courts and not through the media.
In August, the High Court in Lilongwe summoned Banda to testify in the shooting of former Ministry of Finance budget director, Mphwiyo, at the request of Manondo and Kumwembe. Kasambara is yet to give his official list of witnesses.
Banda has also been mentioned as potential witness in several Cashgate cases. n