The High Court sitting in Mzuzu has ‘freed’ 22-year-old Patrick Mwafulirwa, who was serving a defilement sentence at Mzuzu Prison, to pursue studies at Mzuzu University (Mzuni).
Mwafulirwa, a primary school dropout, was sentenced in 2018 and was recently selected to study for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Midwifery at Mzuni.
“Upon review, this court has confirmed the conviction but reduced the sentence so as to result to his immediate release,” High Court Judge Thomson Ligowe said in his judgement.
Mwafulirwa was released on Thursday.
Mzuzu Prison spokesperson Macbeth Wasambo said Mwafulirwa was supposed to complete his jail term in May 2023.
However, Wasambo said Mwafulirwa demonstrated good behaviour and joined secondary school in form one and later sat Malawi School Certificate of Education examinations and scored 17 points.
“I can confirm that Patrick Mwafulirwa is a free man and he can now go and continue with his education at the university because we were also worried about his tertiary education,” Wasambo said.
Meanwhile, Mwafulirwa has said he cannot afford to pay school fees at Mzuni as he relied on his parents who passed on while he was in prison.
He said he intended to proceed with his education because he was now a reformed man who could positively contribute to the country’s development.
“I am happy that I am out of prison. I thank God. Now, I am thinking about my education because, honestly, I cannot manage to raise school fees at Mzuni. I wish I were assisted,” Mwafulirwa said.
Recently, Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance Executive Director Victor Mhango wrote President Lazarus Chakwera to consider pardoning Mwafulirwa to pursue his education.
The matter was referred to the Ministry of Justice.
Mwafulirwa comes from Mwatope Village, Traditional Authority Kyungu, in Karonga District.