Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ephraim Mganda Chiume on Tuesday failed to explain why government is failing to obey a court order to release detained lawyer-cum-human rights activist Ralph Kasambara.
Presenting a Ministerial Statement in Parliament in Lilongwe on Tuesday morning, Chiume, however, announced that Kasambara would be freed that afternoon.
Chiume failed to pacify the opposition benches led by Salima South MP Uladi Mussa who challenged him that the would-be assailants of Kasambara were National Intelligence Services (NIS) officials whom he personally knew.
Nkhotakota South MP Dr Cassim Chilumpha said police and government were bound by Section 153 (3) of the Constitution which stipulates that police are supposed to act under direction of the courts. He described the prolonged detention of Kasambara as Ã¢â‚¬Å“strange and unlawful.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Said Chilumpha: Ã¢â‚¬Å“There is no provision in the Constitution as to where the court can sit or [be] confined. The Minister of Justice should point that one out. If they have problems, which they seem [to have] with the bail and the release order, the only route is by challenging the order in court and not flouting the law.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Chiume told Parliament that the court, under Blantyre principal resident magistrate Innocent Nebi, granted Kasambara a court bail in an irregular manner as it was done at Chichiri Shopping Centre and that the clerk had to be hunted by KasambaraÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lawyers and the magistrate.
Chiume said Kasambara and his five colleagues that were arrested would face charges of abduction, assault and causing of grievous harm as the three were abducted at Magalasi PTC in Blantyre when they were enjoying their sweet beer (thobwa).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They were tied with telephone wires, beaten with horse pipes, undressed; their private parts were applied with peri-peri and pierced with pins,Ã¢â‚¬Â claimed Chiume as government benches shouted Ã¢â‚¬Å“shame!Ã¢â‚¬Â
But Mussa, who had asked Chiume the question, said the three men identified by Chiume as Christopher Gondwe, Wilson Chapata and James Chadza, were actually a James, Chapata and Mussa whom he had coaxed to join the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The one who drove them works for State House and he had a petrol drum in his vehicle,Ã¢â‚¬Â charged Mussa, but Chiume dismissed it as hearsay.
Chiume did not respond to the challenge by Chilumpha.
Kasambara was freed on police bail on Tuesday afternoon after police brought him the bail papers in hospital.