Raphael Kasambara in contempt of court


The High Court in Lilongwe Tuesday found former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Raphael Kasambara, in contempt of court after he said he would slap Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mary Kachale.

Kasambara made the remarks during the ongoing trial of him and two others, MacDonald Kumwembe and Pika Manondo, in a case in which they are answering charges related to the shooting of former budget director Paul Mphwiyo.

“I find the third accused in contempt of court and I censure you not to repeat this kind of behaviour from now onwards,” Judge Michael Mtambo said.


Mtambo’s ruling came after another State prosecutor, Enock Chibwana, had also reminded the court what happened in the judge’s chambers.

“This is not the first time. It happened before in chambers. The judge had to ask me to sit between the DPP and him,” Chibwana said.

The incident happened when Kasambara was cross-examining Manondo. He asked him what the distance from Kanengo to Mphwiyo’s residence could be, and what it was from Ufulu Gardens to Mphwiyo’s residence.


But the DPP objected to Kasambara’s line of questioning, saying Manondo had passed through the same road.

It was at that time that Kasambara uttered the controversial statement.

He questioned the type of information which the State continues to provide to the court, which he said was not enough.

“Had it been that I was out of court, I could have slapped you. You are lucky we are in a court,” Kasambara said.

But Kachale protested: “It’s not right to say the State doesn’t have enough evidence. The case has already passed the stage of case to answer.”

A matter which started as small, grew into a bigger issue, with Kachale saying Kasambara’s statement “stretched the limit of decency…beyond contempt and that the remarks were intended to demean the authority of the court”.

Kasambara, however, apologised to the court.

“I’m sorry. I did not mean to undermine the power of the court. The statement was made in the heat of the moment… I apologise I would plead with the court to censure me and move on..,” Kasambara said.

In the same case, last year Kumwembe was found in contempt of court after describing Judge Mtambo as “a modern day Robin Hood”. Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who is portrayed as robbing the rich and giving the loot to the poor.

As a result of the conviction, Kumwembe was sentenced to a three-month imprisonment.

In the case, Kasambara and Manondo are answering the charge of conspiring to murder Mphwiyo, while Kumwembe is answering attempted murder charge. Mphwiyo was shot at the gate to his home in September 2013

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