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Artist Mwiza Chavura still in custody

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The magistrates’ court in Lilongwe has said it needs more time to decide on whether hip hop artist Mwiza Chavura, who recently released a song advocating rape, should be given bail.

Chavura was arrested on Friday after he surrendered himself to Blantyre Police Station.

The artist, who released a song titled ‘Ndidzakupanga Rape’, has been charged with producing obscene materials, which is contrary to Section 179 (1) (a) of the Penal Code.

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When four pro bono lawyers representing the artist appeared before the court to apply for bail yesterday, Chief Resident Magistrate Violet Chipawo said the court would deliver its ruling tomorrow.

Police Prosecutor, Cecilia Zangazanga, told the court that the State would require 10 days to conduct further investigations and get consent from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

She further argued that the artist should not be given bail because it would be difficult to carry out investigations such as tracing the equipment that was used to produce the song.

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“We submit that the accused should be in custody, considering that, if he is released [on bail], it will jeopardise State investigations. He has been in hiding since the song was released, only to be arrested over the weekend,” she said.

One of the artist’s lawyers, Nicely Msowoya, told the court that what Zangazanga said is not true considering that Chavura handed himself to police after getting a phone call last Thursday, informing him that he was needed for interrogation.

He also disputed Zangazanga’s claim that, if given bail, Chavura might be harmed by the general public on allegations by the State that he was bulled by the public on his way to the court, a development which, he said, was untrue.

In an interview after adjournment of the case, Msowoya said there is no reason to subject Chavura to a prolonged custody when, if found guilty, he can only be subjected to a fine.

“It is not enough just to say we want to conduct further investigations; you have to show that if the accused person is released, investigations will not be possible.

“So, in the event that there is a possibility that the release of the accused person will not prejudice investigations, the law says there should not be any reason to keep the accused person in custody,” Msowoya said.

The four pro bono lawyers said they have adopted Chavura’s case because the public has condemned him enough, apart from considering that he does not do anything for a living as he is a fresh graduate from Mzuzu University.

The artist stays with parents in Namiwawa, Blantyre.

His ‘Ndidzakupanga Rape’ song, which has sparked debate in many quarters, has since been banned by the Censorship Board.

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