Malawi Congress Party (MCP) faces accusations of frustrating the course of justice after an officer of a private legal firm was allegedly assaulted as he went to serve court documents at the party’s headquarters in Lilongwe.
Law firm Gondwe and Attorneys has since lodged a complaint to Malawi Law Society (MLS) against MCP and its president Lazarus Chakwera following the alleged assault on its officer, Jolamu Mpangeni.
The firm says Mpangeni had gone to serve the documents when he was reportedly physically harassed at MCP head quarters in Lilongwe last Thursday by some yet-to-be identified men described by MCP as “misguided individuals”.
The officer had gone to the MCP offices to serve court documents on Chakwera, who is also leader of opposition in Parliament, on behalf of expelled party member—Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma—when he met his fate.
Lawyer Chancy Gondwe, a partner in the firm, said in an interview yesterday while the matter was still under investigations his firm has lodged a protest to MLS.
He said: “The conduct was criminal in nature and we have officially complained to the Malawi Law Society in the manner they treated our officer in the course of carrying out his duty.”
MLS president John Suzi-Banda confirmed receiving a complaint from Gondwe and Attorneys, saying he had already taken up the issue with Chakwera.
“They [the company] indeed complained and I have personally spoken to the president of MCP about the issue. As MLS, we have raised the concern with the party leadership and the president agrees with us that whatever happened was unacceptable,” he said in an interview yesterday.
MCP said on Sunday the party was yet to identify the suspected culprits, but had launched institutional investigations into the matter.
The party said its security at the headquarters had been beefed up by volunteer security personnel following verbal and physical assault it has suffered recently and Mpangeni’s harassment could have resulted from that background.
“It was against this sensitive background that Mr. Mpangeni’s conduct, when he came for the second time at the gate of the premises, triggered some suspicions and provocation which resulted in the uncalled for harassment by the said volunteer security personnel,” said the party in a statement issued on Sunday.
However, Gondwe dismissed suggestions of provocation, arguing that serving documents could not trigger provocations.