State rubbishes Uladi Mussa pardon case


By Cathy Maulidi:

The State Tuesday rubbished former Homeland Security minister Uladi Mussa’s application for the interpretation of the word pardon after he failed to produce in court the actual pardon letter.

President Lazarus Chakwera pardoned Mussa and other prisoners during this year’s Easter celebrations.


The former Salima South parliamentarian was serving a jail term for abuse of office.

He now wants the court to give its interpretation of the pardon, arguing that the move means the crimes he committed have also been pardoned as well.

But the State, through Kamudoni Nyasulu, said without the actual pardon letter presented in the court, Mussa was simply released from prison and not pardoned.


He agreed with the court that a document of the actual pardon was supposed to be presented in court and not the prison discharge certificate which Mussa’s lawyers brought.

“Without a document detailing the pardon, there was no pardon but that they were released from prison,” Nyasulu said.

He said the grounds of appeal as presented by Mussa’s legal team were not clearly set out.

“I’m therefore asking the court that, in the directions, would you please tighten a lot more on how the grounds of appeal should be drafted because the grounds we are hearing today lack details,” Nyasulu said.

Nyasulu added that since the matter of pardon is a constitutional one, the appellants were supposed to seek a judicial review on the same and have the lower Court define pardon and look into its legislation.

Earlier, Justice Ivy Kamanga questioned why the appellants did not bring the actual pardon document before the court.

One of Mussa’s lawyers, Chancy Gondwe, argued that a pardoned person is like a born again believer whose sins are forgiven and erased.

“The same applies when the president has forgiven a sinner. He forgets as well. That’s the power the President has. One that has been pardoned is like a new man. A pardon is something serious as it cleans and erases one’s conviction and punishment,” Gondwe told the court in his arguments.

He added that a pardon is just like what a child writes and erases on a piece of paper, saying the erasing means that the things have been forgotten.

“Pardon is a serious matter that erases the guilt, the conviction and the punishment. In Malawi there are no different categories of pardon. What we have is a pardon and, in our understanding, that’s a free pardon. It’s unconditional pardon which extends to the conviction itself.

“Justice Chikopa also interpreted pardon the same way in the case of Yeremiah Chihana where he said a conviction can’t survive a pardon, meaning you start on a clean slate after pardon,” Gondwe said.

A panel of nine Supreme Court Judges namely justices Rowland Mbvundula, Charles Mkandawire, John Katsala, Lovemore Chikopa, Chief Justice Rizine Mzikamanda, Healey Potani, Ivy Kamanga, Dingiswayo Madise and Dorothy Kamanga heard the case yesterday and has since reserved its ruling to an unspecified date.

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