Patrick Semu, a 19-year-old information and communications technology (ICT) student at Daeyang Luke University in Lilongwe, has spent 36 hours in police custody after allegedly criticising President Peter Mutharika.
Semu was picked up around 11am on Saturday after a minibus he was travelling in from town to Area 25 in Lilongwe was stopped by police to allow the presidential motorcade pass on Mutharika’s way to Daeyang Luke Hospital where he was laying a foundation stone for the Daeyang Luke University Teaching Hospital.
The student allegedly made remarks to the effect that Mutharika was failing to run the affairs of government and that he did not tell Malawians the truth regarding the maize situation.
Sources said a woman clad in Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cloth reported him to police who were manning the route of the motorcade and he was taken to Area 3 Police Station.
National Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa yesterday confirmed that the student was charged with conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
He said: “He has been released on police bail to allow us to investigate further. It was a member of the public who heard him utter insulting remarks not the police. So, we have just taken his statement for now.”
Ironically, his release has come after Inspector General (IG) of Police Lexten Kachama paid a routine visit to Area 3 Police.
The charge of conduct likely to cause breach of peace is contrary to Section 182 of the Penal Code and attracts a fine or six months imprisonment.
In September last year, the Balaka Magistrate’s Court convicted and fined K3 000 a 60-year-old man after finding him guilty of insulting the President.