Protesters’ case fails to start in Rumphi

Hearing of a case against 12 suspects arrested in Rumphi during the July 4 to 5 protests failed to proceed yesterday due to the illness of presiding magistrate Cuthbert Phiri.

The case, according to Rumphi Police Station spokesperson Henry Mnjere, is scheduled to start on Monday when 11 of the 12 suspects are expected to take plea.

Kondowe: Taking plea will happen on Monday

One of the suspects is a minor and Mnjere said he will not be tried alongside others, but will go through the Social Welfare Committee which will provide direction on his case.

The 11 are Patrick Nyirongo, Edwin Chiwosa, Khitani Mkandawire, Wisdom Chunda, Edrisa Phiri, Evans Nkhoma, Ngemenya Kamanga,  Arnold Gondwe, Wyson Milanzi, Wanangwa Chaula and Wyson Banda.

“Of the 11 suspects, one has been charged with malicious damage, while ten are charged with obstructing police officers on duty.

“The magistrate was involved in an accident and can’t write at the moment. So, he adjourned the case to Monday.

“At the moment, all suspects have been remanded at Rumphi Prison,” said Mnjere.

The suspects’ lawyer Bracious Kondowe, hired by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), said the suspects were supposed to appear in court on July 5, but did not because of the demonstrations.

HRDC organised the nationwide protests to demand the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission chairperson Jane Ansah for allegedly presiding over a flawed electoral process in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.

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