Lilongwe Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday granted bail to Jessie Kabwila on condition that she pays a K20 000 cash bond, provide two sureties and report to police whenever she wants to travel outside Lilongwe.
Kabwila pleaded not guilty to two charges levelled against her by the police on Saturday. The trial for her case is expected to start on February 4 2020.
She was arrested following remarks she made during demonstrations organised by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) last week which police said were “likely to cause violence and prejudice”.
On Sunday, the former Salima North West legislator, was denied police bail, following which she appeared before senior resident magistrate Shyreen Chirwa on Monday where she took a plea of not guilty.
In her ruling, Chirwa said her examination of both applications from the State and defence on granting bail, has found that the reasons which the State gave to bar Kabwila from accessing bail were not backed with facts.
She said: “So I am granting the accused bail but on conditions.”
After being granted bail, Kabwila addressed sympathisers at the court, who included UTM Party and Malawi Congress Party (MCP) supporters.
She started her speech with the MCP Hi-Five gesture.
Said Kabwila: “I am grateful to all of you that have been with me from the day I was arrested till now. I thank MCP in a special way, they have been with me no matter what, because what we are doing is an issue [political] party thing. I would also like to thank UTM Party for the support rendered unto me even though I am a new member.”of human rights, it’s not a
In Criminal Case number 7 of 2020, Kabwila is accused of proposing violence at an assembly, contrary to Section 78(1)(a) of the Penal Code and uttering words to the prejudice of judicial proceedings, contrary to Section 113 (1)(d) of the Penal code.
After her plea of not guilty, the State, which was led by Cecilia Zangazanga, asked for a speedy start to her trial, saying they already gave the defence their disclosures and that the State was ready with five witnesses, one of whom was in court during the pleading on Monday.
The defence, which was led by Khwima Mchizi, had no objection to the commencement of the trial but said they will only do that if the State has finalised giving their disclosures.
Kabwila was arrested on Saturday in Area 10 and she was remanded to Area 3 Police Station in Lilongwe.