The Balaka Magistrate’s Court last week convicted and fined a 60-year-old man after finding him guilty of insulting President Peter Mutharika.
Alinafe Paulo from Kanyumbaka Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Nsamala in Balaka was accused of insulting the President when he was returning from his garden.
According to Balaka Police Station spokesperson Joseph Sauka, on August 31 this year Paulo, on his way from his garden, found a grader working on the road and he asked who brought the grader that caused some dust in the area.
Said Sauka: “Paulo [then] started insulting the President and Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] officials who were among the people that were watching the road grading reported the matter to police.”
He said Paulo was later arrested and charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace contrary to Section 181 of the Penal Code. He was taken to court where he pleaded guilty, according to police.
Police prosecutor Christopher Nyirongo asked the court to give a stiffer sentence, saying insulting a Head of State is being disrespectful.
In his ruling, first grade magistrate Felix Mandala, while agreeing with the prosecution that insulting the President is a sign of disrespect, ordered Paulo to pay a fine of K3 000 or serve three months imprisonment with hard labour (IHL).
The magistrate said he gave a lighter sentence because Paulo showed remorse and did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty.