The Blantyre Senior Resident Magistrate’s Court Wednesday released on bail seven people from Ndirande Township who were arrested following a fracas that ensued in the township where President Peter Mutharika’s convoy was stoned.
The seven Maloya Gulani, Jonathan William, McCloud Mulima, John Meleka, Daniel Kaole, Precious Zulu and Joseph Matchado, through their lawyer Wester Kosamu, applied for the bail after pleading not guilty to all the four counts levelled against them.
Senior Resident Magistrate Akia Mwanyongo agreed with Kosamu that the offences are bailable and that it did not make sense for the state to allege that the accused are a danger to society just because they come from Ndirande Township.
“The issue of the accused being a danger to security is a matter of trial. Ndirande is just like any other area and someone living in Ndirande does not make them dangerous. Again, there is no connection that the fifth accused is a flight risk because he works for Nyasa Manufacturing Company,” Mwanyongo said.
He then ordered the seven to pay K25,000 surety, produce two sureties tied to a non-cash bond of K25,000, surrender their travel documents, present themselves at the Southern Region Police Headquarters every two weeks and that they should not interfere with state witnesses.
Kosamu argued in the court on Monday that the suspects had to be released on bail as most of them feed their families on a hand-to-mouth basis, saying they are all citizens of Malawi living and doing their businesses in Ndirande.
He also reminded the court that every accused person has a right to bail and that it does not make sense for the police to continue remanding the suspects at a time the government is in the process of decongesting the country’s prisons as part of fighting the Covid-19 outbreak.
The state, which is being represented by Southern Region State Prosecutor Bright Sanudi, objected to the application saying the seven are a danger to society and are answering very serious offences and are likely to interfere with investigations.
Sanudi, however, indicated Wednesday that the state would not appeal against the bail ruling.
President Peter Mutharika’s convoy was stoned on Thursday last week as he paraded through Ndirande Township to showcase his running mate Atupele Muluzi.
The police have, however, avoided mentioning Mutharika’s stoning in the charge sheet throughout the four counts.